A Response to Alex Serrano’s “What’s Up With Midcoast?”

Simone Lee-Lynch

Serrano writes that the Midcoast Campus in Brunswick is not very well represented by The Beacon due to apathy on the part of the Midcoast Campus students. He states that he has been told by many Midcoast Campus students that they have no representation on the SMCC South Portland Campus. He also states that the “dominant narrative” about Midcoast Campus students is that they are “lazy, uninvolved losers,” and that if they want more representation in the Student Senate and by The Beacon, they should “repre-freaking-sent for gosh sakes.”

Rather than launch into a counter-ad-hominem attack, we might be better served by dealing with the actual issues. First and foremost is the physical separation between the South Portland and Midcoast campuses. This separation can and does have an effect on the representation of the two campuses — in terms of representation in the newspaper, the Senate, and in funding for clubs and activities. If the Senate meetings are always held on the South Portland Campus and the staff and advisers of The Beacon are all on the South Portland Campus, the burden of distance is placed disproportionately on the Midcoast students.

For example, Serrano mentions that the Senate positions for Midcoast are relegated to a “dinky Skyping laptop,” but he leaves out the fact that the Senate meetings take place in South Portland. A Midcoast Senate student uses Skype to attend the meetings because he does not have a car and cannot easily get to South Portland. Not having a car can be a good thing for the environment, but it can be a serious handicap when a student attempts to get deeply involved in campus issues beyond his/her own campus. The issue here is one of distance and not commitment or, in the words of Serrano, the “languid slug-monster” in the “little uncaring brains[s]” of the Midcoast students.

Another issue is the turning down of funding for Midcoast Campus students’ clubs. In fact, some clubs on the Midcoast campus are funded in part by decisions made in South Portland. It must be noted here that the Student Senate helps to manage a large portion of the money collected from the student activity fee, and that Senate is peopled largely by South Portland students and not Midcoast students.

The Midcoast clubs actively have their own fundraisers, such as bake sales, etc., to help with funding. This is a far cry from uninvolved and apathetic. In fact, it shows a direct and active commitment by Midcoast Campus students in their own clubs and activities. Of course, this would not be seen by most South Portland Campus students and Senate members due, again, to the physical separation between campuses.

It is worth repeating at this point that Midcoast Campus students are anything but uninvolved and apathetic. They are involved in and committed to their clubs, organizations, and athletics, and the faculty at the Midcoast Campus is also deeply committed to and supportive of the students and their issues. Student safety, housing, counseling, and encouragement are vital issues on the Midcoast Campus, and these issues and challenges are well met by both students and faculty members on the campus.

Instead of libelous articles and sweeping generalizations, it might behoove the students of both campuses to arrange ways in which they might all meet to discuss differences and concerns.

These meetings might reveal similarities and camaraderie heretofore unknown. These meetings could take place on both campuses (providing transportation is available), although it must be noted that the Midcoast Campus has already been repeatedly left out in terms of actual physical meetings taking place in Brunswick. To this end, Alex Serrano and all South Portland students are sincerely welcome to come to Brunswick to discuss issues.

The Midcoast Campus is a vital, active, engaging place to be. Its students are dedicated to academic excellence and are very involved in their own leadership on campus, athletics, clubs, and multicultural activities. Brunswick students uphold the values of SMCC: opportunity, integrity, engagement, leadership, and success. The Brunswick Campus has state-of-the-art classrooms with “smart boards” and laboratories with complex mannequins to simulate medical situations. Some of this has been funded by local businesses dedicated to the SMCC Midcoast Campus, the students of which are anything but apathetic. We invite you to come to our campus at any time.

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