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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 WiertellaApril 30, 2024

NMU community responds to Snyder invite

Photo by Winter Keefer: Students Laura Long and Nathan Frischkorn collect student signatures in opposition of Gov. Rick Snyder speaking at May commencement.

In the wake of news that Gov. Rick Snyder was invited to speak at NMU’s May commencement, a petition has been created by a student and is currently circulating campus. An opposition group was also formed to speak out against the nomination.


Photo by Michael Wilson: A total of 816 people voted in a 24 hour poll conducted through The North Wind website and shared through social media.

Nathan Frischkorn, a double major in sociology and environmental studies, spent the weekend creating a petition in opposition to the invitation with a goal of obtaining 1000 student signatures by Thanksgiving break. Nathan also plans to set up a meeting with Erickson to present the petition.

The petition will ultimately be mailed to Snyder to show how many students oppose him speaking, Frischkorn said.

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“We’re hoping, with enough signatures, that Governor Snyder will not want to have to deal with the headache of coming—knowing that there might be protests, or walkouts or any of that sort of thing—that hopefully he will just decide not to accept the invitation.”

The petition has been printed and spread around campus by multiple people, he said. All of the signatures will be collected on paper.

The main issues brought up by students in opposition of Snyder have revolved around the Flint water crisis, Frischkorn said. Following Snyder’s appointment of emergency managers during the beginning of the situation, Flint switched its water source to the Flint River for cost cutting purposes and used corrosive chemicals that wore away at the pipes to treat the water. This switch lead to Flint drinking water being contaminated with lead and other toxins.

“My passion—what I’m trying to do for a career—is environmental justice in combating environmental racism,” Frischkorn said, citing environmental racism as a situation where a social justice issue and an environmental issue interact.

“So with Flint, it’s an environmental issue because you have poisoned water. But when that poisoned water is in a community that is mostly poor—60 percent people of color—that’s a race and social justice issue.”

Frischkorn encourages students to sign the petition and spread it around campus, saying he can be contacted by email at [email protected].

NMU Archivist Marcus Robyns held a discussion meeting on Friday Nov. 3, to address concerns over Erickson inviting Snyder to speak at the May commencement. Almost 30 people were in attendance, eight of whom were students.

“I sat and I thought, ‘you know, this can’t stand,’” Robyns said. “It’s a provocation in my opinion.”

Committees were formed at the meeting that delegated members to groups. Groups focused on the creation of educational events and forums, reaching out to the community through social media and creating a mission statement for the group.

The group will meet again at 5 p.m. on Monday Nov. 13 in room 311 of the LRC. Anyone is welcome, Robyns said.

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