Choice of Gov. Snyder As Commencement Speaker Causes Controversy

Nov 14, 2017

Northern Michigan University has invited Governor Rick Snyder to give May’s commencement address, and some aren’t happy about it. 


A student petition against the visit is circulating campus.

Marcus Robyns is coordinator of the group of university employees and community members who want the invitation rescinded. 

He said Gov. Snyder’s involvement in the Flint water crisis makes him a bad choice.

They believe NMU President Fritz Erickson should rescind the invitation, because commencement isn’t the place for such a controversial figure.

“Commencement speakers should reflect, at least on some level, the best values or our core values at Northern, and it should be a celebration of student achievement," said Robyns. "And Snyder’s invitation doesn’t do this.” 

Robyns said they the group will not try to stop the governor from speaking.

NMU President Fritz Erickson said he respects those who don’t agree with the decision.

But he said the selection is important because it reflects the university’s welcoming stance to various opinions and ideas. 

“It is more than just free speech," said Erickson. "It is really the commitment of the university to consider multiple perspectives, and that we don’t hold a litmus test to people that come to our campus and present.”