Imagine my surprise when I walked into the office one Thursday evening, and found a letter written by Barbara Castleman, a distinguished member of the UTM Board of Trustees, sitting on the Opinions desk. Seldom do we have the honor of publishing the thoughts and concerns of such a prominent figure.
However, I was not as impressed with the content moments later. She spends a good deal of time bragging on behalf of the UTM campus, and applauding our work in the community.
However, a marked change in tone occurs when the purpose of her writing is revealed.
I find it intriguing that she calls out these mysterious members of the community that came to the college to have an issue decided that “most” citizens do not support. Mrs. Castleman does not offer any evidence that this is the general consensus, so we have to take her word for it.
Try asking ordinary people outside of the Sunday morning congregation, and you will get a totally different response. I promise.
First off, these rogue citizens are not mysterious. They signed the petition like everyone else, which is a public record filed with the elections commissioner. Feel free to take a look; the names may surprise you. I guarantee you that their opinion has not changed.
They only want representation of the views of the students to be shared. It’s called “democracy.” Established 1776, and re-established every year since.
And trying to negate the impact of graduating seniors by saying this issue has nothing to do with them is absurd. Sometimes, you care enough to want the next generation of UTM students to have it better than you did.
If anything else, we owe them a debt of gratitude for being willing to still represent a campus that they will soon part ways with.
It is too bad that the job market here, and throughout West Tennessee, cannot support their aspirations. Reluctantly, they move on.
“But please, do not hurt the Martin community where I live by trying to vote in liquor by the drink in Martin,” Mrs. Castleman pleads to the student body.
Her choice of words here bothers me. Mrs. Castleman makes a point to say, “the community where I live” as if it were separate of the university. Moments later, she calls for unity.
Last time I checked, we all got counted in the same census. A strong case was made for the campus to be counted so that grant money would start pouring in.
You’re very welcome, Martin. Anytime you need anything else, just feel free ask.