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The North Wind

The North Wind

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 Wiertella April 30, 2024

Measuring ASNMU’s performance by past administrations

Looking back on the ASNMU’s history of leadership and effectiveness is essential in order for students to evaluate progress ASNMU has made during the present term.

Jump back in time with me to September 2005, a time when Michigan was slated to pass legislation that would cut NMU’s budget by 31 percent.

Former ASNMU President Michelle Cox worked with then President Les Wong in order to protest the cuts to NMU’s state appropriations, the very cause of rising tuition.

Due to effective lobbying and persistence, Cox and Wong’s efforts directed toward Lansing resulted in the reduction of cuts to NMU’s state appropriations. It’s nice to know there was a time when the administration worked well with ASNMU.

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Wildcat Wallet, which has been discussed by the current members of ASNMU, took over the Student Saver Program — a discount program that local businesses participated in. Instead of printing cards, NMU students were able to use their student IDs to obtain discounts at 33 local businesses in 2005.

According to ASNMU’s current website, there are now 23 local businesses participating in the Wildcat Wallet program: a drop of 10 businesses since 2005.

Another program that current ASNMU members have touted is Dozing Discounts. Though, I feel ASNMU has not clarified that they did not start this program but rather expanded Dozing Discounts to include a wider range of hotels.

The implementation of Dozing Discounts resulted from the death of Lupe Medina, a Texas A&M student who fell asleep at the wheel in 1998.

In 1999, Dozing Discounts was established by ASNMU with five hotels participating; following the deaths of three NMU students who died after driving through and crashing amidst harsh weather conditions in 2006, the program was expanded to include 38 hotels across Michigan and Wisconsin.

Current ASNMU members have yet again expanded the Dozing Discounts program, which was split into two branches: the traditional branch, which includes 35 Michigan hotels and 23 others across the nation; and the Wyndham Hotel Group branch, where students can access discounts all over the world at popular chains such as Days Inn, Ramada Inn, Knights Inn, Super 8, Microtel and others.

The ASNMU Free Green Books Program was established in fall 2008 under the Hobie Webster administration and a program ASNMU has maintained since.

During former ASNMU President Hobie Webster’s administration, Webster was often criticized for working on too many programs, which were outlined under Hobie’s 11-Point Pledge he promoted during his election in 2008.

Of these 11 points, two have been in decline since Webster was ASNMU president. Point 10: to expand involvement and influence of ASNMU in campus affairs; Point 11: ASNMU will promote increased professionalism amongst ASNMU representatives and executive board members.

Though ASNMU presidents such as Jason Morgan, who served in 2009 and chaired the Legislative Research Committee as a part of Student Association of Michigan (SAM) and advocated, along with other board members, for expanded hours of operation at the Wildcat Den, represented students effectively, leadership has been lacking in both the executive and legislative branch of ASNMU during the current 2012-13 ASNMU administration.

Because of inaction within ASNMU and dissension among members, little has been accomplished in the current administration. When the articles of impeachment were passed, General Assembly members did not address the lack of an ASNMU Judiciary (ASNMUJ) before submitting the articles.

Since the All Student Judiciary was changed to the Student Conduct Board and matters of ASNMU constitutionality were to be left up to ASNMUJ, there was no judicial branch to rule on the constitutionality of the articles of impeachment. This lack of a judicial check resulted in a semester of gridlock within ASNMU.

Our student government has worked on existing programs but has not implemented any revolutionary programs that would help a majority of students. Old ideas that have been brought up in previous administrations are worth reconsidering.

Teleconferencing to SAM conferences instead of commuting downstate at the cost of NMU students should be considered; since ASNMU has not benefited from skill building at SAM conferences, obvious by their lack of productive activity, reducing costs would only be appropriate.

Using existing funds to move the ASNMU office to a more central location (in the Learning Resource Center or the new Jamrich that is to be built this summer) would put student representatives closer to most students.

The Free Speech Board in the lower portion of the LRC, which was put up in late January 2010, does not offer a substantial resource for students to address concerns to ASNMU members.

Office hours are not enough: ASNMU members have to go to the students.

These are all things ASNMU needs to work on after the April elections, but students should be aware that much of ASNMU’s progress has been updating or revamping existing programs. Students need to keep this in mind when making their decision.

Ask yourself: what needs to change in my student government in order for me to have appropriate, productive representation?

Looking at past performance and comparing it to the present administration should be evidence enough of what action students should take when the elections start on Monday, April 1.

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