ASNMUJ off track without membership

Jenean Zahran

With elections coming up in April, ASNMU has found itself in need of suitable candidates for appointment to the Associated Students of Northern Michigan University Judiciary (ASNMUJ).

ASNMUJ was formed last year during elections to remove the responsibility of judicial affairs within ASNMU from the All Student Judiciary, which is the current university conduct board, and create in its place ASNMUJ. However, since created, there have been no members appointed according to Amber Lopota, vice president of ASNMU.

“This is something we have been struggling with since the beginning of the year,” said Lopota. “Currently we have no higher authority within ourselves to answer to, should questions arise regarding anything done by an ASNMU member pertaining to ASNMU itself.”

According to Lopota members of ASNMUJ are responsible for swearing in all members of ASNMU, as well as interpreting the constitution and ruling the legality of ASNMU’s actions.

During elections, ASNMUJ members would deal with any complaints or appeals that come from the process of elections, such as complaints about improper or unethical campaigning. If there are no members in the judiciary, the elections committee will have the final say on decisions since they cannot appeal them.

“The president must make a formal recommendation to the general assembly of the individual(s) the president would like to see on the ASNMUJ,” Lopota said. “Three-fourths of the general assembly then must vote in approval of the candidate nominated in order for that person to become an ASNMUJ member.”

The problem ASNMU has been dealing with since the formation of ASNMU Judiciary during last year’s elections is merely for the general assembly to agree on the candidates President Ben Stanley appoints, or Stanley refusing to approve of candidates appointed by other ASNMU representatives.

“Appointments that we received earlier last semester were rejected because both the appointments committee and the general assembly felt they were unqualified or biased,” Lopota said. “A candidate for ASNMUJ cannot have any personal ties with an ASNMU member.”

During Monday night’s meeting, three NMU students were publicly interviewed for a position with ASNMUJ. The first was appointed by President Stanley, while the other two students were appointed by Representative Brandon Zanon. The candidate President Stanley appointed to the general assembly was denied with an assembly vote, and the other two candidates who were appointed by Zanon were not appointed to ASNMUJ due to President Stanley having not known them personally, and said that he would not appoint them without sitting down and getting to know them.

“I am hurt that extremely qualified candidates the appointments committee approved were not acknowledged by Ben last night just because he did not know them,” Zanon said. “Yet he will present candidates to us we personally do not know, who provide no resumes, act like they have no interest in ASNMU during the public interview and will expect us to accept them. The same courtesy was not shown last night.”

The two candidates Zanon appointed was Preston Mozingo, a political science major and platoon leader for ROTC, and Gregory Wegener, a political science and business accounting major.

According to Zanon, The appointments committee took it upon themselves to review candidates for ASNMUJ members since Stanley had claimed he did not have enough time to because he was working 60 hours a week.

“They were just trying to help him find qualified candidates,” Zanon said. “I really hope he reconsiders and decides to interview these two candidates. People with these qualifications are exactly what ASNMUJ needs.”