Letters to the Editor – 4-16-15

North Wind Staff

To the Staff at the North Wind:

        I am writing as a concerned student of NMU regarding recent controversial news stories and the negative publicity NMU is receiving because of them. By attracting negative attention from national organizations and news sources, the accusations made in your paper may deter potential students from attending NMU.

        A decrease in student enrollment poses a serious threat to the education of every student at NMU. A decrease in enrollment would mean a decrease in overall funding. While other universities are able to fund expensive research labs, community outreach programs, and yes, even large student papers, we here at Northern are already struggling to fund such necessities that contribute to the quality of our education.

By publishing articles that paint NMU in a negative way, you are deterring potential students and potential funding. Therefore, you are directly threatening the quality of the education I am receiving.

I am frustrated that my student activity fee is helping to fund a newspaper that is actively threatening the quality of my education.

And in regards to First Amendment rights: I have never felt as though my rights have been violated. Rather, I am more concerned that you are abusing your position as a student newspaper to express views and opinions for me that I do not agree with.

You must remember that you are a student newspaper—for the students, by the students—and currently I do not feel as though you are advocating for us. If you possess such a negative view of NMU and its administrators, I urge you to transfer to another university. The negative attitude you bring to campus does not contribute positively, nor constructively to the quality of student life in any way.


William Mason

NMU Junior

Dear Editor:

Congratulations to you and your staff at The North Wind for the mature and professional manner in which you’re handling the reactions of board members and administrators to your recent investigative reporting.

You’re doing what journalism students are meant to do: learning, practicing, mastering, and experiencing all phases of the process of publishing a newspaper.

What you at The North Wind are doing is totally appropriate, even when wrong, because you’re students in an educational institution.  I think board members and administrators are reacting in a retaliatory manner to what you’re doing, rather than using these opportunities to educate you in professionally appropriate ways to handle such situations, all of which are normal parts of the learning process and “real life”.

Since most, if not all board members and administrators are business people, they may not know how to use these opportunities to initiate open discussion of the challenges and ways to work through them that are productive and beneficial to everyone.

Since NMU is an institution of higher education, I would expect administrators to be living models of professional, respectful behavior towards everyone.  Current students are future doctors, journalists, judges, social workers, etc.; and I’d like to think that all of them are training to a level of mastery and competence in their chosen professions.  And students are the reason for NMU’s existence.

You at The North Wind are learning competent ways to handle an all too common “real life” situation, and I salute you!

Rachelle Giuliani

Former Auditing Senior Citizen

Marquette, Michigan


To the editor:

Fritzie, the Man, has hired or tasked an administrator to “ReBrand” Northern Michigan University. I attended and graduated from Northern as well as being employed as the Bookstore Manager for a number of years. I was an early hire of Dr. Harden who also rebranded Northern Michigan College to Northern Michigan University. Another major change was the motto “The Right to Try,” and later, adding the Jacobetti Skill Center.

This Right to Try motto or decree was a guideline that Professors, Administrators, and Board Members seemed to endorse and as a result students, faculty, and others hopes and visions of Northern began to grow and expand in many ways.

It has been impressed upon me that since that period of time NMU has stagnated and can only brag about lackluster athletic priorities and little else. Students wishes, desires, and responsibilities should be the most important leg of the underpinnings of NMU.

Recent inquiries and stirring up of the administrative culture of NMU have surfaced. Questions raised are the beginning of a rebranding process. Money and time seems to be wasted by persons in positions of power, making arbitrary decisions attempting to stifle the student-financed North Wind. Paraphrasing the old adage of three monkeys claiming to be wise by seeing, hearing, and doing no evil. A current analogy could be that faculty, staff, and most students are giving little thought to what is happening to the North Wind staff.

NMU has now been rebranded as Pres. Fritzie and his stiflers! NOT A GOOD THING!

A good university, in part, is a home of intellectual, honest inquiry of social and economic concerns and thorough discussion of all university actions or non-actions! You, the students of NMU will never again have an opportunity to question or call out what goes on around you without fear of retribution.

Please give strong support to the North Wind staff and to their adviser who now knows what retribution is.

Don K. Potvin

Class of 1958

To the Editor:

Imagine if someone commented on your pre-professional work every week saying, “Fuck you.”

Think about what you do at Northern Michigan University, about your role at this institution. Think about the work that it takes to be a professional in your area of study.

Now, imagine if the Board of Trustees sent out a university-wide email calling you less than high-quality in your discipline. Imagine if your mentor, your teacher was removed from their position because you dared to practice your professional interests. Imagine if you were rejected from advancing positions because the administration didn’t like the content of your research, your work.

Furthermore, imagine if this entire situation was played out publicly every week with an audience of thousands of your peers and community members.

The responses to The North Wind on social media and the misinformed rumblings in campus hallways disturb me.

It is one thing to disagree with aspects of The North Wind’s decisions. But it is entirely shameful to refer to the journalists’ personhoods and efforts to practice their professions with profanity, disrespect and hostility.

I expect more from my peers. What I’m calling for is empathy from my community.

A university is the space for “challenging” authority, which, and those who actually read the articles understand, is barely an apt term since The North Wind writers have always performed appropriately to the ethics of journalism and have defended themselves courageously.

Higher education is a space for students to practice their profession. The student body should support, and at the very least respect, The North Wind student writers practicing their professions. I’m proud to see my peers working hard and being brave to pursue investigative journalism… regardless of my opinion on the content.

The student body needs to recognize that the retaliation from NMU administration is wrong because students should not be punished for investigative journalism.

“Je Suis” was appropriately and justly used by The North Wind because it is a rally cry for free speech. These students, these individuals, these citizens protected under the First Amendment are being publicly silenced.

Perhaps you don’t agree with the intensity of the comparison, but you have to consider empathetically what it means to be publicly retaliated against as a student.

These students are being suppressed mainly because The North Wind board members are concerned with public relations and their own pockets.

If you don’t know the backlash I’m talking about, check out The North Wind Facebook page. Look at every comment board on several different media outlets.

The hostility towards The North Wind staff is unbelievably shameful, especially from those on our campus.

To those who have posted hatred: what do you wish to happen to The North Wind?  Would you rather no student representation, no independent outlet for campus news, and most importantly, no platform for students to practice their professionalism?

Shame on all who do not take a moment of empathy and support their peers. Shame on all who take time out of life to say and write hateful criticism to their peers.

Nina Fiorucci

Art Education/Photography Major

To the editors:

Trustee Richard Popp was rightly upset by the Northwind article on the Board of Trustees spending. If the article did not, as the Northwind says, answer the question, “Does the Board spend excessively?” it certainly meant to raise it by, among other things, pointing to a Caper’s bar/food bill of $199 for a single trustee while failing to mention that the money was spent on student dinners.

Trustees typically have spent years developing good reputations. Should anyone be surprised that they become indignant when the North Wind is willing to raise doubts about those reputations just to create a “catchy title” for an article? Far more serious, however, is the North Wind’s subsequent willingness to answer and not just raise the question of Popp’s moral character. It charges that in his response to the Northwind he was guilty of bullying, intimidating, shaming, destroying student rights and propagandizing.

And what evidence is offered to justify these charges? Nothing but the fact that Popp sent his response as a mass mailing to the NMU community instead of doing it as it is “done in the real world:” through letters to the editor and paid advertisements. The truth is that “in the real world” institutions under criticism do not so confine themselves: they hold press conferences, issue press releases, give interviews, write editorials, use mass mailings, etc.

There are criteria that must be met to justify serious charges such as intimidation. The North Wind did nothing to meet them. It owes Mr. Popp an apology.

James Greene