President Les Wong, in a forum yesterday, Feb. 23, discussed with an audience of primarily faculty and staff the possible 19.7 percent cut to state funding that Northern will have to survive in the next year. This includes a likely tuition hike which will obviously affect students. But students weren’t initially invited to the forum.
Northern has experienced a lot in the past couple of weeks with the shooter threat and President Barack Obama’s visit. If there’s anything that we should learn from that, it’s that students want to be included. After the threat, students demanded more information about what was happening, and there were more than a couple of students upset by the selection process for Obama’s speech.
But it appears NMU administration hasn’t learned. Yesterday in the forum, Wong discussed everything from the recent shooter threat to President Barack Obama’s visit to budget cuts. For a self-described community forum, we wonder why an invitation to this wasn’t sent out to students sooner than the day of the event.
Students received an e-mail about the event just before 9 a.m. Wednesday, the day of the event, seeming almost as an after-thought when faculty, staff, and even retirees received an e-mail days, even over a week, before the event, on both Feb. 14 and Feb. 21. The e-mail is addressed to the NMU community, and students not receiving a notification is tantamount to a slap in the face. The event isn’t even mentioned on the campus calendar, making it almost impossible for students to plan ahead or know that the event existed. And that was reflected at the forum. In attendance was mainly faculty and staff, only a smattering of students.
The past three weeks have taught us that students feel that they are not being included as much as they want to be. This is something that NMU administration cannot ignore; an engaged community is a stronger community.
In future public discussions, which will inevitably occur as we deal with budget cuts, we hope that students will not only be invited but included. Students are what push this university forward, and they deserve to be a part of such major decisions.