Jason Morgan, the current president of the Associated Students of NMU (ASNMU), has been charged with violating the Student Code by the Dean of Students Office.
The specific charges are “disorderly conduct” and “personal abuse,” which stem from a letter to the editor that Morgan wrote and was published in the April 1 issue of The North Wind. In that letter, Morgan alleged that former ASNMU treasurer, Andrew Foster, “would have been up to impeachment due to neglect of duties if he hadn’t resigned.” Foster denies these allegations and made a complaint to the Dean of Students Office, which lead to the charges.
Mary Brundage, associate Dean of Students, who signed the “Specification of Charges” form on Friday, April 2 declined to comment.
Morgan said that he was shocked when he received the form, which outlined the charges against him.
“I personally think the allegations are unwarranted. I don’t think that they make a whole lot of sense. When I first received the allegations, I had to reread it several times,” Morgan said.
According to the “Specification of Charges” form, Morgan allegedly provided “false or misleading” information in his letter to the editor.
Referring to Foster, the form went on to say, “The student referred to in this statement feels degraded, humiliated and angry. The student referred to fears his reputation and future may be injured by this statement.”
Morgan said the letter to the editor was factual and doesn’t constitute a violation of the Student Code. In winter semester, Foster missed one ASNMU board meeting on February 22 and two “Let’s Chat” sessions, which Morgan said would mean that Foster would have been eligible for impeachment.
“To clarify, (Foster) could have been impeached, but I wouldn’t have spent my time trying to impeach somebody for missing meetings,” Morgan said.
“Let’s Chat” sessions are informal gatherings, at which recorded attendance is not taken, that allow ASNMU representatives and NMU students to interact.
Foster said that he would not have been eligible for impeachment because he does not believe that his absences from the two “Let’s Chat” sessions constitute unexcused absences.
According to the ASNMU bylaws, “Attendance is required at all meetings of the ASNMU General Assembly and Executive Council, as well as all Assembly Committees in which an Executive Council member holds membership.” The bylaws also specify that members of ASNMU’s Executive Council, such as the treasurer and president, are susceptible to impeachment proceedings after having more than two unexcused absences per semester.
Foster said that he reported the letter to the editor because he felt that his reputation was impugned by the statements in the letter.
“My biggest concern is that once something is in print it is forever encapsulated. These articles are searchable by future employers or colleagues,” he said.
Foster also added it is that it is important to correct inaccuracies and that he believes the hearing will result in an appropriate decision.
“I think it’s important for somebody to stand up for themselves and to not let false statements go uncontested,” he said.