The staff editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial board of The Murray State News.
The recent move of the Murray City Council to make students pay the city sticker tax brings into question the role of the college student in this community. For years now we students have held a special position in this small west Kentucky town.
We do not always identify with the community but in many instances are encouraged to be a part of Murray and the surrounding areas. For the longest time we were just a financial benefit to the city and the surrounding areas. That time is no more.
Now the city has decided we are no longer just students, but citizens of the community whether we like it or not. The implementation of the city sticker on students and the wet/dry vote is enough to make us think this community does not understand the consequences of these actions. Students are a major part of this community, but it seems the city would like to have all the positives and none of the negatives.
If students are going to be a part of the tax base of this community there is no reason why a student should not run for city council in every single election. There is no reason for the alcohol vote not to be put in the middle of the Fall or Spring semester so all of Murray’s population has a say, instead of in the middle of summer. So what is the student’s place in Murray? From now on it is that of a citizen. Voter registration should be a University-sponsored event so students can finally stand together and take their seat at the table in the goings on of this community. If students are going to spend more than one year here we should make our presence known.
Mark Welch, director of community relations, said students should make it a priority to get involved in the community.
“It would distress me to think (students) would always be confined within the boundaries of campus,” he said.
Welch said the recent decisions by Murray city government is a way for students to take that step.
“I think it can be a catalyst for involvement,” Welch said. “Part of growing up is being a part of your community.”
University President Randy Dunn said it is up to students to define their role in Murray. “They certainly are involved in the economic vitality of the town, the culture of the town; they give it a level of activity and engagement that wouldn’t exist but for their presence in the community,” Dunn said. “It falls to the students to decide how involved they want to be.”
So now it’s up to us to make that decision. Will we stand by and not take part or step up and take our place in the community? We hope students choose the latter.