Newly elected ASNMU president in jail

Associated Students of Northern Michigan University’s president-elect Ben Stanley was sentenced to 10 days in jail on Monday, April 9.

Stanley was elected ASNMU president on Wednesday, April 4 and was to be sworn in during the Tuesday night meeting. Due to being incarcerated on Monday, Stanley missed the meeting.

Stanley was issued a chicken at large ticket on Sept. 1, 2011 for violation of the Marquette ordinance that states chickens are not allowed within city limits.

According to the Marquette District Court, after failing to pay the $60 ticket, a hearing was set for Oct. 27, 2011. Stanley failed to appear at the hearing, which is considered contempt of court.
A show-cause hearing was then set for March 30, according to the District Court.

A show-cause hearing is held so a person can present reasons why he should not be considered in violation of a specific court order.

Stanley appeared for this hearing and pled not guilty to all charges and was arraigned the same day.

After being arraigned, a contempt hearing was set for Monday, April 9 and Stanley was sentenced to 10 days in jail and a $450 fine.

The fine must be paid by June 15 or Stanley will be forced to spend one day in jail for every $50, amounting to nine additional days in jail, the District Court said.

According to the ASNMU bylaws, Article II, Section 1.1 states that more than two unexcused absences per semester by an Executive Council member is sufficient ground to begin impeachment proceedings.

Under that same section, it also states that members must request an excused absence from the ASNMU president at least 24 hours in advance of a scheduled meeting.

“The board could move to impeachment,” said Dean of Students Chris Greer, who also serves as ASNMU adviser. “But that’s totally up to them whether they do or they don’t.”

The ASNMU president makes the decision on whether an absence is excused or not, which allows Stanley to excuse his own absences, Greer said.

“It doesn’t say he can’t [excuse himself], but I think that the board can fight that,” Greer said. “But I don’t know if they will. It’s totally up to them.”

According to the ASNMU constitution, Article II, Section 6a states that in the event of removal, resignation, incapacity or extended absence of the president, the elected vice president shall assume the office of president.

“Before the (ASNMU) board can decide anything, before anything happens, because he hasn’t even been sworn in yet, we need to evaluate the situation and go from there,” said Kelsey Hayes, ASNMU vice president and acting president.

The next ASNMU meeting will be held at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17 in the University Center.



  • Nicholas Larson
    April 12, 2012 | Permalink |

    While I disagree whole heatedly with the initial charge, it seems as though Stanley acted a bit irresponsibly in response to said charges. I’m not sure whether his inaction was some sort of protest or just ignorance, but either way he should have faced the charges and protested the matter in a more efficient responsible way.

  • Laughable
    April 12, 2012 | Permalink |

    Well, on the plus side, the students at NMU will realize that ASNMU exists- now, this does leave the problem that still…no one will know what they do.

  • Amy
    April 12, 2012 | Permalink |

    I agree that earlier action on his part to contest the charges would have been wise. However, there is a growing movement in Marquette to support urban agriculture and establish reasonable allowances for small animals. Additionally, homeowners and tenants rarely (if ever) receive a publication with all of the zoning ordinances in place.

    Add to that the fact that this is a college student who probably has little time for much outside of school, work, and tending to chickens. I myself have been guilty of leaving my mail unopened for weeks at a time because all of my bills are on autopay. I learned my lesson with an expired debit card that took me 2 years to catch up with all of the bills that bounced!

    Rather than hold this against him, let us observe how he handles this learning experience, and let us learn from it as well.

  • Austen Edwards
    April 13, 2012 | Permalink |

    To the above. Do you really think a man should be in jail for owning a chicken. You live in a country where people can beat and starve their kids but not own a food producing animal. I have never met a person so kind and humble as Ben Stanley. Ben is a man who would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need and people like you re so quick to throw him in jail for some petty civil law. It is people like Ben who show hope for the human race and people like you who ruin it.

  • Bob
    April 14, 2012 | Permalink |

    His disregard for law is not an example other students should try to emulate. Sitting in
    jail does not look good on a resume. This fellow is a punk, he should be expelled.

  • David
    April 14, 2012 | Permalink |

    “Do you really think a man should be in jail for owning a chicken”

    No! Without exception no man or woman should ever be put in jail for owning a chicken. But then again Mr. Stanley did NOT go to jail for owning a chicken either. According to the article, Mr. Stanley was issued a ticket for violating a city ordinance that would have only cost him $60.00. Instead he failed to appear in court, for which he was sentenced to 10 days in jail and a $450.00 fine for CONTEMPT OF COURT. This is a completely separate charge than “owning a chicken”

    I don’t know Mr. Stanley so I can’t make any judgement call as to the type of person that he is. Chosing to ignore your attempt to spin this article away from the facts, I will take your assesment of his character on faith and assume that he is in fact a kind and humble man who would go out of his way to help a person in need. But that is irrelavent. He failed to appear in court and that usually makes judges pretty upset. If he was making an attempt at a protest against the ordinance against owning a chicken within the city limits he would have been better served by showing up in court and actually VOICING his opinion on the matter and allowing the judge to decide whether or not he should have to pay the $60.00. His action were misguided at best, plain stupid at worst. His “protest” would have been a matter of public record with the court, “justice” would have been served, and all it would have cost him was, at most, the 60 bucks and a couple hours of his time to attend the hearing. Now, he gets to enjoy the pleasures of beeing processed into the jail for 10 days and figure out how he is going to come up with the $450.00.

    If this whole situation was some form of protest and an attemp to draw attention to “urban agriculture” a MUCH better, and far more mature, way to go about it would have been to accept the ticket, appear in court to make his arguement, pay the fine, and then write a guest column for (and perhaps a letter to the editor of the Mining Journal) bashing the ordinance and gaining public opinion. Because of the path he chose to take he just looks like a crackpot. He probably did more harm to the urban agriculture movement than good.

  • Caj
    April 19, 2012 | Permalink |

    Hobie & Jack were the best President and Vice President that organization has ever had…

  • Lucas Sponsler
    April 21, 2012 | Permalink |

    Ben Stanley is either irresponsible or an activist. He may, in fact, be a little bit of both.

    Two keys to protesting an unjust law: 1) be fully aware of the legal ramifications, and 2) draw attention to your actions so there is no confusion about your intent.

    Hopefully Stanley has done this on purpose. Unfortunately so far it seems he’s merely neglected to pay a ticket or show up for court. It wouldn’t be the first time a college student stumbled in such a way.

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