With the terms for Board of Trustees members Scott Holman and Rick Popp soon expiring, the NMU leadership will soon be joined by two new people, yet to be selected. Terms extend eight years, meaning these board members will be here long after our own four-year term, so foresight and longevity is crucial in their appointments. Simply, we need board members that have an active attitude toward handling the university’s future. As the deadline approaches, it’s imperative to reflect on what we as students would like to see in our board’s new members.
Members have one responsibility to students, and that is to represent us. Yet, our current board lacks diversity in career, ethnic and generational
background. Currently, there are no board members who have any background in the arts. In fact, the only two members who diverge from the traditional business or law backgrounds are Lisa Fittante, with a bachelor degree in elementary education, and James Haveman, with a master’s in social work.
Additionally, there are no members of ethnic minority. Although race ought not be a sole determinant of a board
member, coming from an underrepresented ethnic background offers greater cultural diversity and perspective.
Especially as NMU continues attempting to diversify its student body, it is
imperative that our commitment to representation is displayed in our leadership. When facing delicate decisions, such as the controversial student-led proposal last year to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day, broader perspective on racial issues is necessary for the board to seem credible.
Lastly, our current board belongs largely to a generation that hasn’t experienced the same challenges students face today. With the rapid development of technology, our methods of education continue to evolve at an unprecedented pace. Policy changes need to be implemented as rapidly as new challenges appear, which can be best achieved with the appointment of younger board members who have experienced the modern college education system.
Thus, when the new members are chosen, we hope they will belong to underrepresented educational and ethnic backgrounds, as well as belong to a younger generation.