ASNMU Update – ASNMU discusses providing bikes to select students

Margaret Ylitalo

Off-campus representative Dani Thoune opened a discussion about the possibility of a grant-funded bike initiative program that would issue bicycles to incoming freshmen at the Tuesday, Sept. 28 ASNMU meeting. In order to receive a bicycle, students would waive their privilege to purchase a parking pass.

“The Road Map to 2015 is talking about getting rid of the roads that run through campus and making it biking, walking, and potentially skiing and snowshoeing across campus to get to where you need to go,” Thoune said. “(The bike initiative program) is tying into future plans.”

Thoune does not see it starting until at least two years from now. Logistics such as winter storage, funding, possible bicycle companies and student demand and interest are being considered. Mechanical students, and possibly local businesses, would potentially be involved in the bikes’ maintenance issues, Thoune said.

Off-campus representative Aaron Loudenslager and arts and sciences representative Zach Fix brought up a discussion of a possible student-defenders division of ASNMU to help students brought to trial in front of the All-Student Judiciary (ASJ), which is also a part of ASNMU. The idea is based on similar groups at Michigan State University and the University of Maryland.

The group would be formed to familiarize students with the ASJ before they are brought to trial, Fix said. Students could choose to allow student defenders to defend them and to help them understand their rights.

“We are not giving legal advice,” Loudenslager said. “We’re just interviewing people and making sure they know how the university procedures work. [Student defenders] can act as an attorney, but they’re not lawyers, and they don’t practice law.”

Ruth Watry, a political science professor at NMU, has volunteered to advise the group and to train and counsel student defenders, Loudenslager said.

Jolene Prahl was unanimously approved and sworn in as a down-campus representative.