Earlier this semester, the NMU administration said that it was going to support the students’ wishes and approve an additional $50 to tuition for a PEIF pass this winter semester. However, at last Tuesday’s Let’s Chat session with President Les Wong, Wong told students that administration has decided to wait until the July Board of Trustees Meeting to make that decision.
Students’ support for this action was overwhelming after last semester’s referendum, where 2,048 students voted for the initiative, the highest turnout for a referendum in years. Students returned this fall to find that their interest was not heard. Wong said in an interview that he intended for the PEIF pass to be included with tuition by this winter semester after issues with the legitimacy of the referendum had been cleared up, but now he wants to push it back to the summer Board of Trustees vote.
The referendum was decided in April this past semester, giving the administration ample time to really act upon students’ vote. Instead, excuses were made. And unfortunately, as we get ready for next winter semester, we are faced with even more excuses.
Wong said the reasoning for this was because of bad economic times, but the economy appears to be the same as it was when students voted. Last week, the PEIF was informed that the administration would provide “interim” money next semester to upgrade equipment that university-wide PEIF passes would have paid for. Perhaps Wong didn’t read the initiative closely enough to understand that the reason why students voted for it was more for the ability to have cheaper PEIF passes included into their tuition than to have improved equipment. There’s no doubt that the PEIF could benefit from the money, but students are left next semester still having to pay for their PEIF passes individually at an inflated price.
How long is it going to take for the administration to finally recognize the wishes of students? The referendum vote last winter semester was unprecedented, and it shows that the administration is not taking this vote seriously. Wong mentioned that 2,000 people is not enough to take a real sampling of the 9,000 students on campus, but we ask administration to acknowledge the fact that it was the largest voter turnout in a long time. We are tired of excuses and want to be heard.