Two juniors at UConn are running for spots on the Mansfield Town Council. Haley Hinton and Colin Mortimer announced their candidacy earlier this week as write-ins for the election taking place on November 7th.
The candidates could not be more qualified to take on such an endeavor. Hinton, originally from Ledyard, is in the Accelerated Program in Law and acts as chairwoman of the External Affairs Committee of the Undergraduate Student Government. Mortimer, studying economics and mathematics, works as a liaison between USG and Mansfield as vice chair of the External Committee. Having dealt with such issues for some time now, both candidates understand the workings of such a council while also representing the best that this university has to offer.
The main issue they are running on involves the new zoning regulations. According to Mansfield zoning regulations, “any group of persons organized for a common purpose, interest or pleasure” is considered to be a fraternity. Obviously, this is inaccurate. As Hinton and Mortimer point out, this means that even just living with multiple friends off-campus is considered to be a violation of the new regulations. This, among other things, must change as they are a blatant disregard of student’s rights.
It is no secret that the non-student population of Mansfield targets students frequently given the disconnect between the two groups. There has been an ongoing debate over the balance of student life within the town of Mansfield. College students tend to get rowdy and disturb neighboring citizens, and while this certainly is not the majority of UConn students, Mansfield residents nevertheless impose strict rulings upon us. The usual argument against this is: they moved to a college town, what do they expect? However, respect is two-sided, and that needs to be realized by both parties.
Having students on this council would be a huge step in bridging this gap. It would allow for direct contact and representation in matters regarding any issues between citizens and students. Citizens of Mansfield must know that UConn students have a say and that we will not be walked over. Hinton and Mortimer will ensure that this does not happen again, as it has with the zoning regulations, in a respectful way that will hopefully hold a greater appeal to Mansfield residents.
It is long overdue to have students on this council. Seeing as students compose a large part of the Mansfield population, it is only right that we have direct representation within it. Hinton and Mortimer have the potential to make a large impact and it is up to fellow UConn students to help them in achieving their goals.
If you are not registered to vote in Mansfield, simply go to http://www.mansfieldct.gov/vote and input your information. It is vital that students make up a large percentage of the turnout on November 7th, so please register and vote. It’s time to make our voices heard.