Letter to the editor

I never could have imagined that my graduate school experience would include a global pandemic, causing the school to shut its doors, move online, and ask so much of its students. It's important to have gratitude during these times, or the pressure and the change can be so overwhelming. I am grateful to be on a campus with such a strong culture of student advocacy; I know when I can’t be there, when meetings happen behind closed doors, when it seems like decisions being made about our education are being made without our input, I know that the student government on this campus is advocating for my best interests to the administration, and that they are working so hard to be there for myself and the rest of us. 

It may seem like a lot, to ask you all to care about the ASUM elections coming up at the end of April, but as someone who has spent five years on this campus, I know the impact that this organization has on students, and we need their leadership now more than ever. There is only one team of candidates that has the experience, leadership qualities, desire to advocate for students, and the deep love for this campus and its community that is required to lead us this summer and next year: Taylor Gregory and James Flanagan. 

I’ve known Taylor almost all of my years on this campus, and have served alongside him in numerous capacities. At the Student Involvement Network, Taylor worked hard to learn about the needs of students, to listen to their concerns, and to produce results. As a freshman, when no one would step up as the Vice President of UM’s National Model United Nations team, Taylor did. He ended up stepping into the President role that year, and led us to win awards at the international tournament in New York City. As a senator, I watched Taylor advocate fiercely for students, including on a resolution that called for every building on campus to have a gender-neutral bathroom option. Most importantly though, Taylor has been a resource and an advocate to every student he comes across. I am beyond excited for him and this journey, and I have never had more faith in an individual to execute the necessities of ASUM President. 

James is equally as eager, accomplished, and qualified as Taylor, and they’ll make a perfect team. ASUM VP requires someone who can lead the senate, support senators goals and ambitions, and be a liaison between the larger student body and the student government. James is perfect for this position, having already taken on the role of communicating between students and the senate, and being the person that new senators go to with ideas. 

I cannot convey to you the urgency with which I implore you to vote for Gregory/Flanagan for ASUM President and Vice President. I know this campus, its needs and its beauty, better than any place I have ever known; I love the University of Montana dearly, and I know that Taylor and James are students’ best chance at effective, reliable, and passionate representation on this campus.

- Bailey Durnell