Letter to the Editor - Encourage voting, too
To the Editor:
I would like to begin by thanking Ruth Dial Woods for her most enlightening letter regarding alcohol awareness. It is very refreshing to see a public official become so involved and concerned about what is going on here at UNCP, especially when the issue is concerning voting and the upcoming elections.
However, I am somewhat baffled that the hopes and aspirations of SGA and ACE to gain more student participation, involving the community in which they reside, has been mistaken and misinterpreted to be “a false quest for economic growth.”
Understandably, the confusion is most likely derived from the upcoming elections and the potential change that it may bring.
Two elections are approaching, the first being the elections regarding the mayor in November of this year, and the other pertaining to liquor by the drink, which will be taking place in January of next year.
The mayor has held his position for nearly 25 years and has been running uncontested for the better half.
What is most interesting about this fact is that less than 500 people actually voted in the last election. With these numbers I actually considered running for mayor this year, until I realized you must be 21 in order to hold that position, which sends flashing lights about age discrimination, but I digress.
In 2008, the elections regarding liquor by the drink will be amongst us and it will be our decision as one Pembroke community to decide whether or not we want it.
It is highly unfair to disregard UNCP students as being temporary because UNCP has been around since 1887, and there is absolutely nothing temporary about that.
Although the last elections regarding liquor by the drink resulted in no liquor by the drink, it does not mean that everyone still feels the same. If this was the case, why not have one election and be done?
“Most UNCP students make healthy choices. Sixty-nine percent have zero to four drinks when they drink.”
I probably would not know this interesting bit of information if it had not been for all of the mouse pads and posters around school that constantly remind UNCP students that we make up one of the most responsible student bodies of them all.
Liquor in Pembroke is easily accessible and if students wanted to drink more, there is absolutely nothing prohibiting that. There is an ABC store, a grocery store and plenty of gas stations that sell alcohol.
As adults, we are entitled to making our own decisions. The facts are available and conclusions can be drawn individually.
What businesses may come to Pembroke if liquor by the drink were to pass is debatable, but assuming that nothing will come is farfetched.
“Party With a Purpose” was just one event in favor of gaining students involvement, and at no time was any student told what to vote for. There will be several more fun and informative events to come.
Students have a right to know what is happening in their community and they have a right to vote on matters concerning it as well.
As student leaders we are on one accord, and we all agree that voting is important.
Liquor by the drink is an issue that people will deal with differently, and as student leaders we understand that it is not our job to tell people who and what to vote for.
However, we also realize that we have a responsibility to the students to keep them informed.
Students should be knowledgeable of the fact that the power of the student is insurmountable, and no matter what they put their minds to, they are capable of achievement.
Finally, on behalf of the Student Government Association and the Association of Campus Entertainment as well as Apple Corps and Chamber of Commerce, I would like to apologize for any confusion.
What is most important is the voice of the community and making sure that this voice is heard.
ACE has a great deal of events planned and SGA is always on top of the issues.
We find voting to be just as important as anything else that we are involved in. Alcohol awareness is very important as well, and we will most certainly not ignore that fact.
Currently, SGA is working on a program specifically for underage drinkers.
Again, to the students of UNC Pembroke, it does not matter what you vote for but please exercise your right to vote. People gave their time, hard efforts, and in some instances, their life for the privilege.
—Barry Burch Jr.
Editor’s note: Burch is currently Vice President of the UNCP Student Government Association