One of the things that makes the Associated Students of NMU unique is that it is an organization that can effectively make change for students on campus. Recognized by administration as the voice of students, it is ASNMU’s responsibility to be a transparent organization that students can approach about concerns that can legitimately be changed. Unfortunately, with recent changes in priorities, the voice of students has been lost.
This past week, a set of rewritten bylaws were voted on by the ASNMU board for approval, and students were not being considered as fully as they should have. Changes were made that make it harder for students to know exactly what their representatives are doing and the current board members added positions that aren’t entirely necessary at a time when they are having to ask for more money from students.
Recent changes eliminated the information technologies position, one that is clearly stated in the constitution as the person who’s supposed update any changes to the constitution on the Web site. Where these positions will be assumed is not clarified. Because of this, students are no longer guaranteed their right to the basic information about ASNMU, making it hard, over time, for students to understand what exactly their student government’s purpose is.
Though possibly an oversight on the part of those writing the bylaws, students are negatively affected by this mistake. It cannot be taken lightly as the constitution provides a foundation on which ASNMU runs, something that can only be changed if students vote for it or petition for a change. Students ought to be assured that such information is readily available to them.
More than that, the timeline for when minutes need to be posted for student use was stricken from the bylaws; this does not hold the organization responsible for informing students of what is being discussed at its weekly meetings. Though this isn’t a direct violation of the constitution, this change is keeping students from receiving the information that relates directly to what ASNMU is doing at the time.
This year for referendum, ASNMU is asking to be funded completely by student funding and add two new paid staff seems unnecessary and excessive. Though the funds to pay for these people are being reallocated from various other cuts within its budget, this is not a time for ASNMU to be creating paid positions.
We feel that ASNMU could be doing much more to effectively represent the student body and should be taking student opinion into higher consideration when it comes to their basic operations. Rather than finding out what students think when it comes to the decriminalization of marijuana, maybe ASNMU should spend its time finding out how students think their organization could more adequately represent them.