ASNMU adopts resolution urging state senate to reconsider vote to block BOT appointee

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RESOLUTION—ASNMU adopted a resolution to urge Senate Republicans to reconsider their vote to block Jason Morgan from serving NMU’s BOT. So far, they have blocked a total of 18 Of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s appointments.

Justin Van't Hof

On Thursday, Feb. 18 ASNMU met for a special session and unanimously approved a resolution urging the state senate to reconsider its vote to block Jason Morgan, NMU alumni and former ASNMU president, from serving on NMU’s Board of Trustees. 

Specifically, the resolution calls on senator Ed McBroom, who represents the 38th district which contains two-thirds of the U.P. including Marquette, to reconsider his Feb. 3 vote to block Morgan’s appointment to NMU’s BOT. McBroom and other senate Republicans voted to block five of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s appointments, including members for MTU’s BOT.

“She can suspend what people wear, where they go, what they buy, where they can work, when they can work, where they can eat, she even strove to limit who we can have in our own home. All this done without any debate,” Sen McBroom said during his Feb. 3 Senate speech.

The resolution requests that Senator McBroom reconsider his objection to Jason Morgan’s appointment, and encourages him to persuade his fellow senators to reconsider their objections as well. Encouraging them to put aside arguments about COVID-19 restrictions since they are unrelated to Morgan’s ability to serve the BOT. 

This is the second time that Senate Republicans have blocked some of Whitmer’s appointments. On Jan. 27 they voted to block 13 appointments to various agencies around the state. Senate Republicans did not block all of the appointees, however, allowing Gregory Seppanen to be approved to NMU’s BOT. 

“We’re not going to be distracted by petty partisan games. The governor is focused on achieving the state’s goal of equitably vaccinating 70% of Michigan adults as soon as possible so we can get our kids back in school safely, return to a strong economy and get back to normal day-to-day activities,” Bobby Leddy, press secretary for Whitmer said. “Michigan families, students, and small businesses are counting on the legislature to stop the partisan games and pass a robust recovery plan that doesn’t block badly needed resources for vaccines and classrooms.”

The resolution says that the decision to appoint a member to the BOT should be based on that individual’s suitability, and not based on partisan arguments between the legislature and Whitmer about COVID-19 regulations. 

“Morgan has the necessary qualifications to serve on the Board. As a current Washtenaw County Commissioner and a previous ASNMU president, Morgan has demonstrated ability to represent the needs of those he serves and advocate for change,” the resolution says. “The Board will benefit from someone like Morgan, who can advocate for student interests to shape a more successful campus community. Furthermore, the confirmation of Morgan, a distinguished NMU alumnus, will generate more engagement between students and the Board.” 

Morgan says that although Senate Republicans have so far blocked his appointment, he is hopeful he will still be able to serve the NMU community. 

“I really appreciate ASNMU’s leadership and their support of my appointment to the NMU Board of Trustees. I have always believed in the voice of students and it is my hope that our senators will listen to their thoughtful advocacy, focused on supporting students and our amazing university. I would still love the opportunity to work with our campus and community to serve NMU and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula,” Morgan said. 

“Jason Morgan is an NMU alumn and was ASNMU president from ’09 and 2010. He would be a great asset to the board bringing youth, commitment to climate activism, representation. He was a first-generation student here and would be a huge asset to our board and bring a lot of freshness. It would also mean that our education isn’t some political capital,” ASNMU President Emma Drever said during their Feb. 16 meeting. 

In response to ASNMU’s resolution, NMU President Fritz Erickson said he is aware of the action to block Morgan and hopes that the BOT will have a full group in the near future. 

“We are aware of the action by the Senate and its role in the process of appointments. As a university, we look forward to having a full slate of trustees in the future,” said Erickson. “Additionally, ASNMU was created to ensure students have a voice on campus. We respect their right to exercise that voice and share their opinion.”

The resolution also says that ASNMU will distribute the resolution both throughout the NMU community and also to other universities to help gain support to help Morgan’s appointment go through. ASNMU urges students who are interested in writing a letter to their local state senator to reach out to them for guidance. Those interested in getting involved in this initiative can contact ASNMU via email at [email protected], by calling 906-227-2452 or by visiting their office at 1203 University Center.