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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 Wiertella April 30, 2024

ASNMU censures Stanley

Associated Students of Northern Michigan University censured Ben Stanley as the president-elect and president during their meeting on Tuesday, April 24.

A censure is a formal procedure by a legislative body to discipline an action. According to Troy Morris, ASNMU academic affairs chairman, there are different levels of censure that can be used, from removing the comments made by the censured member, to blocking further comments or actions of the censured member. Morris said the censures retract all actions and comments in the documents.

“Essentially, the letters of censure separate ASNMU from what has happened, stating multiple times through both letters that the actions or comments are ‘hereby condemned,’” Morris said. “This is a strong motion establishing ASNMU’s response to these incidents and hoping to move past them for the future.”

The censures were added to the agenda at the beginning of the meeting by a unanimous vote.

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“I expected something to happen, but the fact that they avoided putting it on the agenda until the actual meeting was a little bit of an abuse of Robert’s Rules, in my opinion,” Stanley said. “Especially when members of the public that weren’t even ASNMU knew about it and made comments about it on Facebook, not allowing me anytime to prepare.”

The president-elect censure mentions that Stanley never replied to Abigail Roche, ASNMU chairwoman of the assembly, after being sent a notice dealing with the duties and responsibilities need of the president-elected on April 10 and 14. It also mentions that Stanley lied about the detail of his charges when asked by Morris and vice president Kelsey Hayes.

The president-elect censure retracts the comments by Stanley as president-elect through the General Assembly by officially posting the censure in order to keep clear the actions and intentions of the president-elect separate from ASNMU itself.

“I like the idea behind [the censures]; clearing ASNMU from that. I’m totally fine with that,” Stanley said. “But it says that if anybody brings up anything about what happened at all, including a member of ASNMU, it’s grounds for impeachment, so that makes me very uncomfortable. Not only for myself, but anybody on the board.

“If anybody talks about it, it’s going to be an elephant in the room at times and that just adds to not having open dialogue.”

The president censure mentions that Stanley failed to cooperate with Roche, Hayes and the General assembly in clearing up matters concerning Stanley’s conduct as president and affected the honor of the office of president as well as ASNMU.

It said Stanley repeatedly obstructed the parties involved who were trying to carry out the duties of their positions, thereby obstructing the processes of ASNMU.

“They didn’t want to do impeachment because they don’t have enough grounds,” Hayes said. “Someone suggested censuring and they looked into it and decided it would be a really good idea just to condemn his past actions and protect the future.”

It also said because Stanley was quoted saying, “If I’m a terrible president, like all the rest of them are, impeach me,” in an April 19 North Wind article titled “President asks to be held accountable” it was seen as a reflection of the entire presidential legacy and is misconduct for being against the spirit and traditions of the office of the president. According to the same censure, this misconduct in the office of the president has created an environment of neglect within ASNMU and is contrary to ASNMU responsibilities and is condemned.

“It’s extremely important,” Hayes said. “If he does anything like [anything] that he’s been censured for, it’s a citable offense for impeachment. So he’s been warned, basically.”

On top of the failure to cooperate and the printed quote, Stanley was also reprimanded for selling T-shirts in the Academic Mall without permission. The T-shirts had a cartoon chicken on them with text saying, “I voted for Ben Stanley” and were being sold for $5. According to the censure, Stanley stated to students and staff of NMU that the money was going to be donated to ASNMU.

On April 23, Stanley submitted an Activity Registration Form with the Center for Student Enrichment on which Stanley requested the fundraiser for The Gentlemen’s Fraternity, a student organization, therefore the money is required to go to The Gentlemen’s Fraternity.

Many students showed up to the meeting wearing the T-shirts in support of Stanley.

“It felt great to have the students there,” Stanley said. “It really meant a lot to me to know that every student that came was in my support. It really had a great affect on me.”

Hayes said she didn’t feel like it did anything.

“I guess they thought their presence was enough. We also had one email that said ‘You’re not representing us,’” Hayes said. “I think they were just Ben’s friends, honestly. That’s not the student body.”

During the meeting on Tuesday, ASNMU went into closed session to talk about the censure among members.

“[It was] to protect anyone that wanted to say something that they didn’t want anyone else to know that wasn’t part of ASNMU,” Hayes said.

The comments made during a closed session meeting are not allowed to be talked about once the session is reopened.

“[The censure] wasn’t a personal attack again against him, it was just the board protecting ASNMU’s integrity,” Hayes said.

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