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The North Wind

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The North Wind

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Students torn about speech selection process

Eddie Erhart said he was “devastated” when he found out the upcoming President Barack Obama was invite-only. He talked with his friends about how frustrated they were about not receiving an invitation and decided to start a Facebook group to voice his opinion.

“Doing nothing will do nothing, at least creating a Facebook event is something,” said Erhart, who is a senior secondary education major. “I didn’t think it would take off like this, I just wanted to do something.”

The Facebook event called “We would really like to hear Obama speak” has grown rapidly since it was it was created the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 8, with 1,919 members at the time of this publication. People have expressed their discontent with the choice of the NMU administration to choose only certain people to go to the event.

According to Cindy Paavola, director of marketing and communications, the White House has asked that student leaders be in attendance of Obama’s speech, which will take place in the Vandament Arena on Thursday, Feb. 10. In order to find those people in such a short period of time, Paavola said that those chosen include veterans, ROTC members, student government leaders, students who work in NMU technology departments, participants in Superior Edge who have more than two Edges or have completed 400 hours, the registered president of each student organization and student employees of Communications and Marketing and the Center for Student Enrichment.

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“There was no good way to make everybody happy, and we tried to do the best we could to make sure that there were a lot of great NMU student leaders in the crowd,” Paavola said.

Erhart said that there are two schools of thought of people who are unhappy with the selectivity of the upcoming speech: those who believe the event should be public to all students, and those who feel slighted by the process to decide who should go. Erhart said that the types of people who have spoken out on the event page include non-traditional students, graduate students, people who volunteer in the community rather than on campus, people with full-time jobs who find it hard to volunteer and even some Democratic campaign volunteers who weren’t invited.

“There’s a lot of people who feel slighted because they’re not good enough or not worthy of being among the university-chosen elite group,” Erhart said.

A separate group has arisen encouraging a “peaceful protest” where students would hold signs outside of the Physical Education Instructional Facility. Erhart said that it was important to his friends who started the group that they not promote a protest on the page.

“If people want to protest, go ahead, but I don’t want to participate, because I would rather have Marquette have a positive image and Obama wanting to come back,” he said.

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