Staff Editorial: New leader, same issues

NW Staff

Next Tuesday, April 14, will mark the first day on the job for new ASNMU President Jason Morgan. Hopefully he can learn a few things from the outgoing administration.

Morgan takes the ASNMU reins from Hobie Webster, who had sky-high hopes when he became president just a year ago. While ASNMU and Webster have succeeded on many major fronts during the past 12 months, the organization is still lacking in many fronts, including its connection to the students.

This year, ASNMU’s support of a new, statewide medical amnesty law which would allow intoxicated minors the ability to call for help without fear of receiving an MIP, and its push for a day of service on MLK Day both deserve credit. The program providing free Green Books and the newly minted External Affairs Committee, which gives ASNMU a connection with state government, are also noteworthy successes that have helped establish the credibility of ASNMU with Northern administrators.

But Webster and Vice President Jaclyn Calamaro leave office with other promises unfulfilled.

Improving the ASNMU Web site to make it more timely was clearly a point of focus for Webster when he took office last spring. And while the site has been renovated, it only serves to highlight the divide between ASNMU and the students.

Since September, the highly touted blog, which ASNMU members were supposed to use to communicate with students, has just five posts, and none have been made since mid-January. The ASNMU meeting minutes are posted sporadically and at times this year, visitors to the site could go months without seeing the minutes from weekly meetings. This sort of silence and inaction creates an air of exclusiveness that alienates students.

The fact is students still don’t seem to be aware of or interested in ASNMU, as an organization. Once again this year, ASNMU slots remain open after election. Although the student body is somewhat apathetic, the problem is and always has been that ASNMU is not connecting with students. Most advertisements having to do with ASNMU come around once a year, when people are running for a seat in the largely unknown and under-utilized group.

Posters in the dorms and visits to hall government meetings would certainly help this cause, as would an up-to-date, interactive Web site. Hopefully Morgan, who has talked of the importance of the connection between students and ASNMU, will be able to fortify ASNMU’s strong points while repairing its weakest points. And maybe next year, there will be some competition for ASNMU seats.