It is undeniable that the relationship between MSU and the city of Bozeman is a complex and important one. MSU boasts more than 15,000 students, faculty and staff, making up approximately 42.9% of Bozeman’s population. More important than the numbers alone is the intangible relationship between the two.
MSU holds several representative spots on city-wide commissions and boards, but more generally, students, faculty and staff live and thrive in Bozeman, contributing to the local culture, laws and community. This relationship flows the other way, too, with MSU’s growth and expansion impacting the city’s plans.
Because of this undoubtedly important connection, MSU and Bozeman have been forging the bonds of their relationship since the start. In recent years, this has included annual meetings between the city of Bozeman Commission and representatives from the ASMSU Senate.
But if this relationship is to mean anything, it needs to move beyond just symbolic measures and proceed to actual conversation. To present nothing but their best side to each other is beyond just disingenuous, it hinders any chance at progressing forward. The scripted mock-conversation needs to be put aside to actually understand how to work together to serve both their constituencies.
This is especially crucial with Tuesday’s election looming, where all Gallatin County residents have the opportunity to cast a vote deciding their elected representatives. To not take advantage of the opportunity to vote, beyond throwing away a crucial civic responsibility, is to throw away your direct voice in the community.
This year Bozeman voters will have the opportunity to vote for mayor and city commissioner, as well as a 1.5 mill levy that would fund MSU’s two-year college, Gallatin College. The mill levy, if passed, means homeowners in Gallatin County will annually pay $2.08 per $100,000 in assessed property value or $4.15 for $200,000 in assessed property value to go towards funding the college. The funds would ensure the future of Gallatin College and demonstrate the community’s commitment to education.
If you haven’t yet registered to vote in Gallatin County, it’s not too late. Registration is open through election day at the County Courthouse, located at 311 W. Main.