The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Author: Madeline Polkinghorn (Page 1 of 2)

Bates Habla Español:

The Bates Student runs a regular column covering Bates foreign language teaching assistants, highlighting the invaluable work they do and gaining insight into their cultural background.

A few weeks ago, I spoke to Daniel Guarín, the Spanish teaching assistant who hails from Armenia, Colombia. Recently, he reached out to me to cover a new learning initiative he has taken on: Bates Habla Español. The program, which comes in the form of a Facebook group, aims to digitally engage Spanish students at Bates through informal dialogue in Spanish. I spoke with him to learn more about the program and what it hopes to achieve at Bates.

Madeline Polkinghorn (MP): What is Bates Habla Español? What are its objectives?

Daniel Guarín (DG): Bates Habla Español (Bates Speaks Spanish) is a group created thinking about the needs of my Spanish students as a boost for their language acquisition. It is a group in which students can feel free to comment and interact in Spanish, out of the classroom and its formality: no stress, no pressure, just fun…

Bates Habla Español is a public group and it is available for all the Bates students who want to learn, improve or practice Spanish. And of course, learn more about Latin American and Spanish culture, literature, history, etc.

MP: How did you get the idea to start Bates Habla Español?

DG: The idea of creating this group was born during one of my master’s degree courses called ‘The Role of the 21st Century Language Professor’. The Internet is changing the world, it is changing communication, education and languages. We – language teachers – must be ready to face these changes and take advantage of them. We must also know that those formal and archaic language classes belong to the 19th century; now is the time to think about the informal ways of learning and teaching a language outside the walls of a classroom.

MP: How will this project help Bates students learn Spanish?

DG: There are many articles, books, videos, memes, and pictures that I would love to share with my students in class, but time is never enough and it flies when you are having fun, so this group is the opportunity for students to go deeper with Spanish and practice, because the more you practice the more fluent you become.

MP: What kind of content will be shared in the group?

DG: Well, everything has to have an educational purpose, even if I’m sharing memes, they must have an impact and must help students improve or learn or think. So there are many different kinds of content, such as videos about poets, writers, history. There will be pictures with fun facts about Spanish language and Hispanic culture, memes, music, etc. Everything in Spanish.

Interested students can access the group by searching Bates Habla Espanol, or following this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BatesHablaEspanol/.

 

Club Spotlight: Philosophy Forum

 

Each Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m., philosophically inclined Batesies make their way up to the Philosophy Lounge in Hedge for an informal discussion about a wide array of topics including thought experiments, metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics, and other topics they discuss in class. This week, The Bates Student went to investigate a typical Philosophy Forum meeting.

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Club Spotlight: Active Minds

If you have been spending any time recently with Bates students, you have likely heard the echoes of the dreaded March anxieties and blues. Winter appears interminable, the stress from finals is undeniable, and the end of school year is in sight, but not quite close enough to touch.
But beyond these shared experiences of boredom and stress, college campuses face an unprecedented epidemic of mental illness, and student suicide has become a legitimate and pervasive threat. Bates club Active Minds is determined to counter these deeply troubling and tragic realities. I spoke with the club’s future co-president, Ted Burns ‘19, to get a better grasp of the group’s mission.

Madeline Polkinghorn (MP): What is Active Minds?
Ted Burns (TB): Active Minds is a student-led group on campus that focuses on raising awareness for and erasing the stigma around mental illness, but it’s also about being conscious of mental health in general.
MP: Why did you join Active Minds?
TB: I joined Active Minds, because of my own experiences with mental illness, but also just on a whim when I was wandering around the Club Fair in September. At the first meeting, I didn’t know anyone, but the environment was so fun and positive that I haven’t missed a meeting to this day! Everyone in the club is awesome.
MP: What kind of things do you guys do in Active Minds?
TB: We meet once a week for 30 minutes to chat and check in with each other in a very relaxed setting, but we also use that time to plan events on campus. Some examples of events we’ve done were the Self-Care Fair and the Share Your Story events. Both had great receptions and were really rewarding to be a part of.
MP: Do you have any personal connections to mental health?
TB: I’ve been taking medication for anxiety since 2015, and mental illness runs in my family. Needless to say, it has had a huge impact on who I am is a person. I also feel very strongly about getting rid of the stigma surrounding mental illness. It should be regarded no differently than the flu or a broken bone: It is an affliction that requires treatment.
MP: Why should Bates students join Active Minds?
TB: Bates students should join this club, because it has really cool people in it, and it’s very low-key. Even if you have no experience with mental illness, you should join, because you can help others who do in very achievable ways. My favorite reason to be a part of Active Minds is the fact that I’ve gotten to know great people that I never would’ve been able to meet otherwise.
MP: What are your future plans for Active Minds?
TB: I’ll be co-president of the club next year with Sara Dardis, and I’m really excited about the opportunities! We’re already talking about teaming up with Filmboard to start a discussion about depictions of mental illness in media, organizing panels with professors, as well as continuing to do all the excellent things we already do.
MP: What has been your most meaningful experience with the club?
TB: My most meaningful experience with Active Minds was when I shared my experience with anxiety at the Share Your Story event. It was incredibly moving to share such an personal story to a room full of people who wanted to listen, and the possibility that hearing my story might’ve helped someone made it that much more special. It was inspirational to hear others’ stories as well.

Foreign Language Spotlight: Jing Tian

As part of a series here at The Bates Student, our News section has interviewed different foreign language teaching assistants (TAs) in an effort to better understand Bates’ foreign language department.

Throughout the series, we have aimed to seek greater insight into the invaluable work the TAs and learning associates do to provide Bates students with a fully dimensional language experience that allows us to strengthen our foreign language skills through intercultural exchange. As most foreign language students at Bates will tell you, the assistance of Foreign Language TAs is precious: whether you need help preparing for an exam, practicing a different alphabet, or simply want to converse with a native speaker.

This week, I spoke to Jing Tian, a learning assistant from the Chinese department.

The Bates Student (BS): What is your name and what do you do at Bates?

Jing Tian (JT): Jing Tian. The Chinese learning associate.

BS: Where are you from?

JT: Nanjing City, China.

BS: Why did you decide to teach Chinese? Why did you choose Bates?

JT: Teaching Chinese as the Second Language is my major. And it’s interesting to teach Chinese. Bates is a good college. It has cooperation with my university in China.

BS: How long have you been at Bates?

JT: Since last September.

BS: What has been your favorite part of teaching at Bates? Has anything been challenging?

JT: My favorite part has been teaching Chinese grammar, as well as showing Chinese traditional culture, such as papercutting and Chinese calligraphy. Chinese tones are difficult for students, so it is a little challenging to make them pronounce correctly.

BS: Have you ever taught or experienced the education system in China? If so, do you know of any differences between the Chinese and American education systems?

JT: Yes. I taught international students in China before I came Bates. The international students have more Chinese classes than students at Bates, and the number of students in a class in China is bigger.

BS: Do you have any advice for students learning a foreign language?

JT: Practice makes perfect. They can find a native speaker as a language partner.

BS: Will you be staying at Bates indefinitely? If not, Do you have any plans after Bates?

JT: No. I will go back to China in April. I’m still a postgraduate student, so I want to get my master degree firstly.

Club Spotlight: College Guild Helps Inmates through Education

Discussions during this year’s Orientation Week frequently reflected back upon Bryan Stevenson’s book, Just Mercy. Many found themselves left in disbelief after learning about the pervasiveness of institutional abuses within our nation’s criminal justice system in this year’s required reading. Currently, one club on campus is trying to extend that conversation and foment it into practical action – and there’s a possibility you’ve never heard of it.

College Guild, founded in 2001, is a non-profit organization affiliated with both Bates College and Bowdoin College that provides free, unaccredited academic courses to prisoners throughout the country. The courses are unaccredited for a reason – many accredited courses are not available to prisoners in segregation or on death row.

Bates and Bowdoin students volunteer as “readers,” evaluating and reflecting upon the inmates’ work while providing them with words of encouragement. Course topics, which inmates successfully complete after finishing six units relating to the subject, range from science to Greek mythology to gardening.

Julie Zimmerman, co-founder of College Guild, sheds light on the organization. “Respect-based programs like CG are important because they have been shown over and over to reduce recidivism,” started Zimmerman. “They’re important because prisoners need something positive, productive, and encouraging to fill their time. They need to know that they are still human, and the feedback from College Guild volunteers conveys that message loud and clear.”

Decreasing recidivism is a principal aim of the organization – the College Guild motto, in fact, reads “Respect Reduces Recidivism.” According to the organization, participants in educational programs reduce their chances of returning to prison by 50 percent.

But the organization doesn’t start and end with Zimmerman – it needs volunteer readers to survive. “Getting involved is important for Bates’ students because they carry a new understanding of criminal justice with them for the rest of their lives. We learn from our CollegeGuild students as much as they learn from us.”

What’s more, Zimmerman stresses the enormous, material impact College Guild has had on its students in an effort to underscore the organization’s importance.

“College Guild has received hundreds and hundreds of letters  [from inmates] telling us what College Guild has meant to them. One student wrote to say he had to drop out because he had enrolled in college courses. He said the organization gave him the confidence to believe he could succeed in college. He ended with, ‘I owe you the entire world.’

Imagine reading letters which say, “You saved my life,” “You made me a better man,” “You’re the only one who believed in me.” There are no words to describe the feeling!”

I also spoke with Cristopher Hernandez Sifontes ’18, student co-president of College Guild at Bates, to discuss the engagement of the program with Bates Students.

“I joined College Guild in the winter of 2016 as part of a CEL requirement in Professor Cynthia Baker’s Human Suffering seminar. After visiting their offices and speaking to Julie Zimmerman, I was struck by the strength of the values and mission of the organization. I was determined that we should bring College Guild to Bates and encourage students here to play an active part in bringing about timely solutions to the crisis of mass incarceration in the United States.”

Sifontes remarks that “Every unit that I receive from a prisoner-student is remarkable in its own way. To read incarcerated individuals express themselves in relation to subjects of academic and personal importance is to develop an understanding of the equalizing power of education.”

One issue that faces the organization is the enormous demand for readers from prisoners nationwide.

“Joining College Guild is easy for students at Bates, but precisely because there is a shortage of volunteers it is not so easy for prisoners themselves – incarcerated individuals currently face a waitlist of about 3-4 months before they can join.” As a result, Sifontes also stressed the importance of Bates students joining the initiative.

“College Guild provides Bates students with an incredible flexible way to give back to a broad community in a tangibly significant way. Volunteers meet with me for a 15-minute orientation and start receiving scanned responses from prisoners around the United States. Volunteers then use the existing units to provide focused, constructive feedback to students.”

For more information about College Guild, visit http://collegeguild.org/.

Free Speech Panel Sparks Contentious Debate

On Wednesday January 31, Bates Student Government held a discussion and open panel regarding free speech on campus. Leading the panel were Kim Trauceniek, the Associate Dean of Students for Campus Life, Nick Dressler, the Assistant Director of Campus Life, and Margaret Imber, Associate Dean of Faculty. Members of Bates Student Action, as well as various interested individuals from the student body, joined their peers in Student Government. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss Bates’ Free Speech policy, as well as an upcoming “statement of principle” regarding free speech from the faculty. Throughout the course of the night, the discussion grew more contentious, with students and administrators engaging in a back-and-forth style of argumentative discourse.

The Free Speech policy was made available to students in December of 2017, and sets guidelines for invited speakers, performers, and on-campus protests. The policy is, in many ways, a reactionary one; Imber stressed that the college felt they needed to quickly design a framework that defines free speech at Bates to prevent free speech crises that have happened at similar institutions, such as Middlebury and Berkeley. Perhaps the most controversial issues regarding the Free Speech policy are its specific provisions regarding protest. The policy first and foremost states that Bates “recognizes and supports the right of individuals or groups on our campus to protest peacefully,” but adds an addendum that “Bates retains the right, recognized by law, to regulate the time, place, and manner of protests.” The policy was heavily criticized by students at the discussion, who argued that it lacked student input and imposed unfair restrictions on student demonstrations. One member of Bates Student Action remarked to the panel leaders that the “policy could have engaged more with Student Government. I know that you offered it up for comments, but I don’t think from what I’ve heard that you’ve actually taken any of those comments. And I think for this policy to be a policy that really can fairly regulate a community, the community should have a say.” To this, Trauceniek responded, “I’m sorry you’re disappointed. I think that we’re here to really start that conversation.” The panel leaders also expressed that they had made efforts to include students in the decision-making process, but had received few emails and little student initiative.

More particularly, students rejected the “time, place, and manner” restrictions designed to prevent protests that may be “disruptive to the normal operations of the college or that violate college policy.” One student argued, “Why do people need approval from the Bates campus to use a microphone? That’s a staple of protest. That’s a staple of free speech.”

To counter, Imber responded that “every free speech case that’s been tested legally has permitted ‘time, place, and manner’ restrictions. So, I would assume that if people were asking for mics to use at 3:00 in the afternoon, it would be very hard to come up with a rational basis to deny that. Conversely, if they wanted to have their protest at 1:00 in the morning outside of a dorm, it would be easy to come up with a rational basis to deny the use of mics.”

The statement of principles is currently in a process of iterative drafting. Imber expressed, “The faculty are working on a statement of principles which are meant to be a general statement of values that administrators can turn to, so that when something requires them to implement the policies that were promulgated through the Student Affairs office, they’ll be able to see that the faculties have these values in this situation if we have a potential free speech problem or conflict.”
The final draft will be presented to the faculty in March. Until then, free speech will remain a hotly debated and enormously divisive issue on the Bates campus.

Foreign Language Spotlight: Lera Fedorova

The foreign language teaching assistants (TAs) at Bates offer students the tremendous opportunity to engage with members of the cultures they seek to explore in higher education. The TAs are able to ease our foreign language experience of its daunting “foreignness” by providing Bates students with a chance to interact with a language and its cultural implications beyond verb conjugations and imperfect tenses. This week, I spoke with my own foreign language TA, Lera Fedorova, from the Russian Department for an interview. Lera hails from the small Russian city of Oryol, not far from the nation’s capital, Moscow. She is perhaps somewhat reserved and unassuming at first, but boasts a massive linguistic knowledge of Russian, German, and English and currently is in the process of learning French at Bates.

Madeline Polkinghorn (MP): Hi Lera! What made you interested in teaching Russian in America, and at Bates in particular?

Lera Fedorova (LF): Well, I studied teaching English [at university], so I was just interested in foreign language, and then I got the opportunity to teach at Bates, because we have some kind of cooperation with my university in Russia and Bates. TAs from my university have been coming to Bates for the last twenty years… I’ve just always been interested in languages.

MP: How long have you been teaching at Bates?

LF: It’s my second year in America and at Bates!

MP: How has your experience both in America and at Bates been so far?

LF: So far it’s been really great – I’ve been enjoying my time here at Bates and in the U.S. I’ve traveled a bit around the U.S., mostly the main cities, like New York, Washington D.C., Miami, and Detroit.

MP: What was your favorite place you visited in America?

LF: I really loved New York. I liked Brighton Beach [a neighborhood in Brooklyn known for its large population of Russian immigrants and culture). I both hated it and loved it… I loved the beach, but it was very depressing. It feels like you’re going back to Soviet Union times. What my city used to look like fifteen years ago is what Brighton Beach looks like now.

MP: Are there any substantial differences between the American and Russian education system that you’ve noticed?

LF: It’s totally different. In Russia, when you go to university…you’re assigned the subjects you have to take. So you have to choose your major and apply to this position, and then you study according to this schedule that the university makes for you. The teaching style is also different. Here, it’s more inclusive and more personal. In Russia, you have to work hard to make a good impression.

MP: What’s been your favorite part of working at Bates?

LF: I’ve been really impressed with all the facilities provided for teaching and all the equipment that you have. In every room, there are computers, there are screens, projectors. It’s much easier. At my university, there are only two rooms in the English department with a projector and you have to bring your own laptop when you want to use it.

MP: When you finish your education in Russia, would you ever consider moving back to America?

LF: Only if there’s a good job for me, because I am not one of those people who wanted to blindly move to America. I see no sense in just coming here to live in bad conditions, in bad work, just to survive. But if there is a good opportunity for me, why not?

Lewiston Mayoral Election Progresses into Runoff

The mayoral race for the city of Lewiston will continue until December 12, where voters will have the chance to choose between Ben Chin and Shane Bouchard.

Early voting will be going on at Lewiston City Hall until December 7, and Election Day voting on December 12 will be at Longley Elementary School on Birch Street. Absentee ballots are also available. Contact the Harward Center for more information.

Chin, a Bates alum of the class of 2003, is a progressive community organizer who has worked closely with the Maine People’s Alliance on issues such as increasing minimum wage and tax increases for wealthy brackets to fund local schools. Chin has stressed the importance of mitigating Lewiston’s housing crisis, specifically with regard to the pervasive practice of slum lording. Chin also hopes to implement something he calls a “belonging agenda”: a system that aims to quell the Lewiston opioid epidemic through public health reform and education.

Bouchard is a strong conservative and the incumbent city councilor for Ward Four, as well as the owner of a landscaping business. Bouchard vehemently opposed the Lewiston-Auburn merger, though he clarified that he would ultimately support the decision of the people. He has emphasized the importance of changing Lewiston’s “image problem” in order to attract business and generally rebuild the city. Finally, he hopes to dismantle the root causes stunting economic development in Lewiston.

Chin, when asked why he believes he should be supported by Bates students, remarked that “at a time when racial demagogues who brag about sexual assault can be elected president, it’s important to demonstrate at the local level a different way forward. My campaign is about building momentum for change that people of all backgrounds–young, old, rich, poor, all races and genders–can get behind. It’s the only way we are going to tackle problems as local as parking, and as big as economic inequality and racial disparities.” He went on to say that “we have an opportunity on December 12 to show the world it can be done, and it’s essential we do it together.”

Bouchard could not be reached for comment.

I spoke with two Bates students, one who supports Chin and the other who supports Bouchard. Roy Mathews ’21, a moderate Republican from Columbia, South Carolina, is in support of Bouchard. “Overall, I would say that socially I’m probably the most liberal person on this campus. But economically, I’m pretty conservative. I don’t believe you should spend money that you don’t have.” Reflecting on his support for Bouchard, Mathews remarked that he was not initially compelled by Bouchard’s policies until he was able to learn more about his personal background. “When I started talking to him, he told me about how he was raised on food stamps by a single mother. I was inspired by his story, which doesn’t happen a lot.” In terms of policy, Mathews was most convinced by Bouchard’s fiscally conservative economic proposals. “Back in South Carolina, we used to throw money at everyone who didn’t have a job, and that put us in debt, which resulted in a huge corruption case about ways to get rid of that debt illegally.” The most crucial action for Lewiston, in Mathews’ opinion, is thus job development. “Shane’s focus on job prospects in Lewiston,” started Mathews, “with the mills and trying to revitalize them, I would say that’s the biggest component for me.”

Conversely, Lars Gundersen ’20 of Freeport, Maine, voiced his support for Chin. Gundersen identifies as an independent, and has worked for several canvassing initiatives throughout Lewiston and the greater Maine area. Though he has primarily supported Democratic candidates in the past, Gundersen expressed that he has felt alienated by both parties. “I think Ben Chin has a concrete vision for what he wants to achieve for Lewiston: like addressing the housing situation downtown and issues of economic development.” In explaining his support for Chin, Gundersen reflected on Chin’s “outsiderness,” as an out-of-stater who has espoused policies that deviate from normative political expectations. “Voting for him,” said Gundersen, “then entails some degree of risk. But because Bouchard represents the status quo, I don’t see there being anything to lose by voting for Ben Chin…But I think he won’t fail. I think it’s a risk worth taking.”

 

Counseling and Psychological Services Reveals Changes to Infrastructure

As the academic demands continue to spike throughout the course of the school year, there is an undeniably palpable sense of anxiety pervading the campus. Bates students stand at the unique intersection of being members of a rigorous, famed academic community while simultaneously joining the most anxiety-ridden generation, statistically speaking.

Thus, prioritizing the mental health of students has never been as crucial and material to greater student safety as it is now. One of Bates’ most indispensable student services, the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), has recently undergone a series of substantial structural changes to its operating systems and leadership board.

I spoke with Doctor Aileen Park, who was appointed as the new Director for the Office in September, to learn more about these developments. Dr. Park was previously employed at Bowdoin College, where she served as Associate Director for the college’s counseling services.

Firstly, Dr. Park walked through the appointment making process, among the new operating procedures CAPS has adopted. Appointments can be made over the phone, in person, or via email correspondence. By employing three full time mental health professional staff, the office’s administration aims to keep slots open so that no student will have to wait longer than a week or a week and a half to make a non-urgent appointment.

In a similar vein, Dr. Park told me that the office conducts an “emergency hour” during weekdays at 3 p.m. “This hour is reserved for when students are experiencing an urgent mental health issue or crisis, and need to be seen on a same day basis. The front desk has a screening form that a student can fill out to help make a decision if the emergency hour is right for them.”

One of the largest overhauls recently conducted by the center is the new ProtoCall program, put into practice last winter, which aims to provide psychological and counseling services to students when the main CAPS services are closed or otherwise not operating. “ProtoCall counselors”, started Park, “are licensed, trained, and supervised mental health professionals who specialize in crisis phone support for many college campuses and other organizations across the country. CAPS collaborated closely with ProtoCall so that they are attuned to specifics of the Bates community.” ProtoCall provides a two-fold value to the Bates community: firstly, it allows discreet psychological counseling to students in need, who may find it daunting to approach the CAPS office in person. Secondly, it serves as a tremendously useful service to the college’s Residence Life staff, who may contact a ProtoCall counselor if they are concerned about the mental health or welfare of a student.

Dr. Park is dedicated to employing her expertise in the fields of psychology to ensure that Bates is fully equipped to address every possible concern regarding the mental health of its students. “We make any and all changes in order to best serve the Bates student community, in as efficient and helpful way as is possible with the staffing and resources CAPS currently has.” Dr. Park also indicated that she has plans for more changes in the future to further develop the office’s outreach.

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CAPS is open to all who need it. JAMES MACDONALD/THE BATES STUDENT

Mayoral Hopeful Mark Cayer Makes Visit to Bates

On Wednesday, October 25, Lewiston mayoral candidate Mark Cayer visited campus to share his platform with Bates students. Cayer’s visit was part of a larger local election series at Bates, and was followed by a similar presentation by fellow mayoral candidate Ben Chin on Thursday, October 26.

Cayer began his presentation by sharing some contextual information regarding his background; mentioning his upbringing as a native of Lewiston as well as his six year career as Lewiston’s Ward 6 Councilor, where he was then elected Council President. “This year,” started Cayer, “I decided it was important for me to run for mayor because I think there are party politics trying to take control of our local government, and I just think that’s bad for our community.”

Moving on to his platform, Cayer lamented on Lewiston’s local economic stagnation, including a statistic about the city’s average poverty rate of 30 percent and the general lack of desire for young entrepreneurs to open businesses in the city. To this end, Cayer stressed the importance of an educated, marketable workforce. “Lewiston’s workforce is undereducated. We’re well below statistics when it comes to degrees,” said Cayer. “We really need to start at our local educational level and focus on the jobs of today and tomorrow; like technology and manufacturing.” To achieve this practically, Cayer suggested more involvement and engagement with local secondary schools and community colleges. 

Ultimately, solving Lewiston’s poverty crisis was the core of Cayer’s mayoral goals. “Kids in Lewiston, every night, go to bed hungry. They go to school hungry. At home, they face domestic violence. They face severe substance abuse in their families, and they face sexual assault.” Cayer views these issues, however, as symptomatic of poverty; and attempting to fix them rather than the institutional causes of poverty itself is nothing more than a superficial approach. “I don’t have a clear understanding of what the root causes of poverty are,” admitted Cayer. “But within our community we have the experts that do, like Community Concepts and Project Tipping Point, that really create an understanding of poverty.” Thus, Cayer advocates for relying more heavily on these community resources to generate a more robust awareness of poverty so that the city may address its symptoms more effectively.

The conversation then moved to our own immediate community when Cayer was asked about what policy initiatives he would use to communicate with Bates students specifically. Cayer reflected on the stark divide between Bates students and the greater Lewiston area, remarking that “back when I was a teenager, there used to be this fence around Bates College. That got torn down, but the fence is still there, and it goes both ways.” One of the largest issues, according to Cayer, separating the college from its environment is the prevalent off-campus party scene, which has galvanized tensions (and police ordinances) with local residents. Meetings have occurred in the past at the college to help discuss the issues surrounding off campus housing with residents, but Cayer was thoroughly disappointed with the lack of administrative presence from Bates.

“We need the Bates administration involved [in helping bridge the Lewiston/Bates gap], and I’m going to make that happen as mayor. And if the President doesn’t want to do that purposely, we’ll start calling the trustees.”

Regarding ballot initiatives, Cayer stated he “saw value” in the merger, but believed too much money was spent in 2015 on studies regarding its theoretical effects. As councilman, Cayer advocated for putting the question on the ballot so that the people could have the final say.

“This could put Lewiston-Auburn on the map and be a springboard for our community,” said Cayer. As for Question 2 (which regards Medicaid expansions), Cayer expressed relative ambivalence about his feelings on the vote, but was ultimately in support of it due to the wide scale tangible effects it could have on the everyday lives of Lewiston residents, many of whom are without healthcare. “I’m voting for it not because I want to, but because it’s life and death for some people. Still, I don’t think that’s where government should be. We need a healthcare system that’s self-sufficient.”

Students will have a chance to vote for mayor on the November 7 Municipal Election, and may get registered on campus or on the day of the election at the Lewiston Armory.

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