ASNMU voted for greater independence

Chelsea Birdsall

ASNMU wants more freedom in decision making from Board of Trustees oversight

ASNMU voted this week to amend their constitution to have greater independence from Board of Trustees. When discussing a referendum to remove Board approval from constitutional changes on Monday March 9, ASNMU chose to vote on it two days later.

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ASNMU president Katerina Klawes said the initial discussion was lengthy so she decided to call a special meeting for vote on Wednesday March 11.

“The largest reason I wanted to call for referendum was to give students more input on how ASNMU functions,” Klawes said. “We collected feedback last year and other proposed changes this year that were never fully utilized and I felt like that was a big disservice to students.”

The most heavily debated amendment dealt with the idea of whether the Board of Trustees should approve the constitutional changes or if it should just be left to the students and presented to the Board as another pair of eyes.

ASNMU Vice President Katelyn Liubakka feels ASNMU is empowered by the students.

“I think our legitimacy does not come from the administration of NMU but from the student body,” Liubakka said.

“If the student body approves it, I would heavily disagree if the Board of Trustees disapproved of something and we had to go with the administration.”

ASNMU College of Business Representative Jess Gula agreed.

“Students are the ones giving us legitimacy. We work for the students so our constitution should be for the students and the Board doesn’t need to vote for that,” Gula said.

Down-campus representative Lindsey Lieck feels that ASNMU’s power is appointed by both the students and the administration.

“Obviously the students are the first part that gives that,” Lieck said.

She thinks if the Board of Trustees approves the constitution, it shows their support for ASNMU initiatives.

“I think the process was a little rushed. Making changes to the constitution is important to move forward with ASNMU,” Lieck said.

“It needs to be taken seriously by both students in ASNMU and on campus. The constitution affects the abilities of [ASNMU] to provide for the students.

Lieck felt the committee process was rushed.

“We didn’t get an agenda for this meeting until today,” Lieck said. “There was no public notice of this meeting. If I wasn’t on ASNMU, I probably wouldn’t realized the changes affected me.”

Still, she said it was the most productive meeting ASNMU has had since she’s been inducted.

Klawes was encouraged by ASNMU’s productivity this year.

“When looking at the constitution we had a new perspective this year. We’ve never had such a successful assembly,” Klawes said. “In the vested interest of future assemblies, members and students at NMU, I thought the time would be now to examine the constitution a year early.”

Klawes was worried that the Board of Trustees would have more power than appropriate. She wants political power in the students’ hands.

“Not in the recent past, but the Board of Trustees has vetoed things that the ASNMU assembly has passed,” Klawes said. “I think its about putting the power back in the students, the power vested in the students. It’s not necessarily about taking things away from the Board or having disagreements with the Board, its simply about Northern’s students to have self governance as its defined in the Student Handbook.”