(Photo Courtesy of Massachusetts Teachers Association)
“A poster made promoting the “Fair Share Amendment” movement. The poster is urging voters to vote “Yes” on Question 1, which pertains to the Fair Share amendment.”
A new amendment has been introduced to the government of Massachusetts, and it could potentially benefit college students across the state. On February 20th, a group of representatives from each Massachusetts state university sent a letter to the state urging them for the implementation of the Fair Share Amendment into the Massachusetts Constitution. This amendment would supposedly allow for the accumulation of two billion dollars in funds that would support public education and transportation services.
Mina Lam, a UMass Lowell Student Trustee, when asked about how the Fair Share Amendment will be implemented, said, “Last year we were thinking [about] higher education…getting the money from all the tax and from most of the rich people who have a lot more money. It’s great to see how it’s being used in a [better way] for students especially because we’re going through a lot of loans and debts and it’s just a great way to help funding; especially as the university and colleges are growing and a lot of students who would like to see more resources being implemented, like with mental health, diversity, equity and inclusion. Especially just making students feel more at home and connected with the school. I think, at least with this Fair Share Amendment, [it] will progress as colleges and students grow throughout the entire experience.”
The student leaders have worked meticulously to create a better educational environment for not only the UMass Lowell, but for universities across the state. This amendment would help many students during these trying economic times, especially those who seek an affordable and accessible education. But, how did this amendment come about? Lam said, “It’s something we saw…the UMass Lowell System actually reached out and asked one of our advisors [about the Fair Share Amendment] and then [told] us, ‘Hey, if you have any ideas on what we can use this funding for, just give some ideas’. Then we all kind of pitched in saying how it could be used for things like scholarships or just like campus or it could be just ways to support students financially too. We pretty much were creating the letter just because we needed to get our voices out there. Since this got approved, we get to take action quicker. [If] we left it [for] later, it’s not going to be as powerful. We wanted to at least get the word out so that other students and other people know what’s going on. By just taking this first step, by creating this letter and just sharing our concerns and things that we can use the funding [for], we can share what we’re passionate about and hopefully it’ll help grow the future.”
The UMass Lowell System and Student Trustees alike are still actively pushing for the addition of the Fair Share Amendment into the state’s constitution. However, as the letter has just recently been sent out, the Student Trustees have yet to receive an answer. Lam said, “[We have] not heard back yet, but look forward to at least hearing back [and] them noticing our efforts.”
With the potential passing of the Fair Share Amendment, Massachusetts universities and their student bodies will hopefully feel the meaningful change that will come from its inclusion.