ASNMU Update – New position changes in bylaws may violate constitution

Ben Hocking

The Associated Students of NMU board voted this week on bylaw changes that would add two new executive board positions and eliminate the Director of Information Technologies position. These changes may be in violation of the organization’s constitution and the procedures to amend it.
ASNMU constitution is the document that outlines the overall structure of NMU’s student government. Amendments are made through a majority vote by ASNMU or by a petition from 10 percent of students. After either of these requirements has been met, the proposed amendment(s) would have to be delivered to the Board of Control.
However, ASNMU president Jason Morgan said he wanted to make sure that the new positions outlined in the bylaw changes worked out before pursuing constitutional changes.
“We didn’t want to go to the length of a constitutional amendment because we wanted to make sure these positions work in the bylaws before making them permanent institutional members,” said Morgan.
The Director of Information Technologies has a responsibility outlined in the constitution.  According to the document, “The Constitution will be updated online on an annual basis by the Director of Information Technologies.”
Morgan said that the Director of Public Relations, one of the new executive board positions approved in the changes, will absorb most of the responsibilities of the Director of Informational Technologies, including updating the constitution online.
“Just because we don’t have a specific person in charge of those responsibilities, that does not negate the right of NMU students to view the constitution online as we added those responsibilities to those of the [Director of Public Relations],” said Morgan. “If that is an issue to students, we can call our [Director of Public Relations] the Director of Information Technologies. It is still constitutionally mandated that we keep [the constitution] updated.”
The Director of External Affairs is another new executive position, bringing the total number of executive board members to five.
According to the ASNMU Constitution, “The Executive Council shall consist of the President, Vice-President, and Treasurer [of ASNMU].”
Dean of Students Chris Greer said that constitutionally, the terms executive board and executive council refer to the same positions.
“It seems to me that to add two new [executive] board members would require a constitutional change,” Greer said.
Morgan said the purpose of the bylaw changes were to help ASNMU operate in a more efficient manner.
We’ve been discussing the bylaws for three weeks openly at the meetings,” he said. “We realized at the end of last semester, ASNMU wasn’t working the way it should.”
In other news, the ASNMU members voted to remove the responsibility of the Secretary of the Board and the Secretary of Finance to post the minutes from their meetings 48 hours after they are approved.