ASNMU and Greeks deserve our respect

Brice Burge

In the last two weeks, two of NMU’s most influential student groups, the Greek organizations and ASNMU, have taken some black eyes, but they should still get respect.

An underage drinking scandal rocked Greek life, as Lambda Chi Alpha was removed from campus. Lack of information given to students because the investigation is still ongoing has the rumor mills going and false accusations of extreme hazing of sorority girls, drugging drinks and cover-up plots have spread through campus. Adding to the issues is confusion in which fraternities and sororities are involved. Even the Dean of Students, Chris Greer, seems to be taking shots at the group, saying the charges are “progressive,” despite most members of the fraternity becoming brothers after the chapter was already on probation for previous issues and not giving more information to stop any rumors.

As for ASNMU, the already dying off organization only had six people run for its 24-member general assembly and a revote was necessary to place the presidential and vice presidential seats.  Ben Stanley’s disqualification from the ballot hasn’t helped, as many students have questioned whether poster placement is enough to boot a candidate off the ballot, although no public announcement was given by the university about which rules Stanley broke.

I’m not a member of any Greek organization, and with the exception of a six-week position on the elections committee in 2010, I haven’t participated in ASNMU.

However, I respect both groups. Moving out of the residence halls, I no longer have access to the President’s Round Table, a group of hall presidents that form their own government. ASNMU has given me the voice I lost, and I take every opportunity to communicate my opinions on campus issues with them.  The Greeks – specifically Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity – have helped me even more, as two members gave me places to stay when I was homeless this summer. Every time I’ve needed these two groups, they have helped out other students just as much.

It’s sad that what are supposed to be two of the strongest student groups on campus take such big hits at Northern, where we have a strong support staff for student organizations. During my years here, neither Greek organizations nor ASNMU have risen above other organizations to be that obvious example of a student group, let alone have the respect that, for example, Greek Life at Arizona State or the student government system of Purdue has after years of success.

Despite the lack of recognition, both groups have done great things for the campus and the community. Greeks have raised thousands of dollars for charities like Relay for Life and provided great bonding opportunities for hundreds of men and women on campus. Their strongest showing is in conjunction with the Health Promotions Office for Late Night at the PEIF, which allows students new and old to have a stress-free night before classes start and showcases the athletic facilities. ASNMU has helped with providing a 24-hour study lounge and discounts at local stores in the underused Wildcat Wallet program. ASNMU is also strongly represented in the Students Association of Michigan, which lobbies Michigan Congress for more money and against more cuts.

Unfortunately, I feel the biggest benefit of both groups is often the most disrespected. The leadership and longevity of both ASNMU and the Greek organizations on campus is a stabilizing factor to a too-spread-out student organization environment.

No matter how strong the Center for Student Enrichment is, the need of a long-lasting, non major-specific group to set an example is needed. Even running purely on reputation of success at other college and universities, Greek organizations and student government is a great place to turn for access to immediate extracurricular activities, essentially making these groups too big to fail.

I’m not saying everyone needs to join up as soon as possible, but the student body really needs to back up these groups and understand the benefit that they give a campus like Northern’s. Wait, listen and push for the truth about Greek organizations and ASNMU; they deserve the respect.