Nov. 28, 2001
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NMU Responds to Empire Layoffs

It is too early to determine what impact the Empire Mine layoffs might have on next fall's enrollment, but the university is doing what it can to help current students whose families are affected by the situation. "As a member of this community, Northern is committed to finding ways to assist the families, especially those of our students, who are impacted by these latest developments," said NMU President Judi Bailey. "The people of the Upper Peninsula are survivors; they find ways to turn tough times into can-do situations. Northern wants to assist in that process."

Bailey said the university will work to ensure that students whose families are affected by the layoffs receive the maximum amount of financial aid to which they are entitled. Financial aid eligibility for the 2001-02 academic year was based on a family’s 2000 income.

“While their eligibility for this year has already been determined, we encourage students and parents concerned about their financial situation for the upcoming winter semester to contact our office to set up an appointment and explore some options," said Mark Delorey (Financial Aid). “The real impact will be on financial aid eligibility for 2002-03. In an extended layoff situation like this, eligibility can be based on projected 2002 income rather than actual 2001 earnings. That will make a big difference for some students.

”The NMU JOBSearch Center is also prepared to assist individuals directly impacted by the layoffs who are affiliated with Northern as current or former students. “The center can help develop resumes, prepare individuals for interviews, and show how technology can enhance the job search,” said John Frick. His staff also works closely with Michigan Works! to help individuals find employment in the local area. The JOBSearch Center will sponsor the Upper Great Lakes Collegiate Job Fair from 1-4 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, in the Great Lakes Rooms of the University Center.

Bailey encourages faculty and staff to talk to students about the resources available. She also invites employees to attend the Dec. 3 enrollment forum to be part of the campus discussion on the situation. It is scheduled from 3-5 p.m. in the Erie and Huron rooms.

World AIDS Day Activities

NMU will commemorate World AIDS Day with two presentations Saturday, Dec. 1. The CAPS department and Forest Roberts Theatre will present AIDS at 20: Pay it Forward, created by Cecilia Pang (CAPS) and her students. The one-hour student production is scheduled at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in McClintock 105 (Black Box Theatre).

Immediately following each theater performance will be the screening of a new locally produced documentary. AIDS and The Arts in Africa is a 20-minute video illustrating the work of African artists, especially performing artists, in the struggle against AIDS. The video will be shown at 11:30 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 1:10 p.m. in the Mead Auditorium in the Seaborg Center. Refreshments will be available.

Louise Bourgault (CAPS) shot the video on location in South Africa and Mali (West Africa) during her sabbatical in 1999-2000. She was researching the use of art as a communication tool in African AIDS awareness campaigns. Bourgault's project also involved several students who became involved in editing, post-production and studio camera work.

Bourgault's video also serves as a visual summary of a text she is producing entitled "Playing for Life: African Performance in the Age of AIDS." She said proceeds from the sale of her projects will be used to assist AIDS orphan causes in South Africa and Mali.

Snow Day Contest

The university was closed yesterday, but it's not too late to enter the annual Snow Day Contest. Guess the next date (between Dec. 10 and March 29) that classes are canceled at the Marquette campus due to inclement winter weather and it could be worth a $50 gift certificate at a Marquette restaurant of your choice. The 9th annual contest is sponsored by the snow day czar, Fred Joyal (Academic Affairs). It is open to all NMU employees and students.

In case of a tie (one year there were nine correct entries), the winner will be drawn from all entries with the correct date. Saturday, Sunday or holiday dates are not valid. If on-campus classes are not canceled due to inclement weather by the end of the contest, all entries will be eligible for the prize through a drawing to be held April 1. Only one entry per person, please. You can enter online at Snow Day Contest.

Human Resources Reminders

Mark your calendars so you won't miss the Friday, Dec. 14 deadline for the following:
1. Blue Cross Blue Shield Open Enrollment. If you wish to enroll or add or remove dependents not currently covered, you must complete the required form. Changes would take effect Jan. 1.
2. Medical Flexible Spending Account. The enrollment form for 2002 must be signed by Dec. 14.
3. Dependent Verification Forms. To maintain insurance coverage on dependents 19 years of age or older, the forms mailed to you must be returned by the deadline.

If you have any questions, contact Human Resources at 2470.

Diversity Consultant to Visit NMU

Diversity consultant and facilitator Frances Kendall will visit the NMU campus Dec. 4-5. She has worked in the field for more than 20 years with a focus on managing issues of workforce diversity and organizational change. Her involvement ranges from giving keynote speeches and facilitating workshops to working with an institution for up to five years.

Kendall is the author of Diversity in the Classroom and Diversity Issues in the Workplace. Her clients include the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Wisconsin, Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, the U.S. Postal Service, Levi Strauss & Co. and Dane County Mental Health Services of Madison.

Her visit is part of a four-pronged response to concerns raised this summer by some minority students at NMU. An ad hoc group formed to address the concerns is composed of Karen Reese (Academic Affairs), Bill Hill (Diversity Student Services), Carl Holm (Housing and Residence Life), Ken Chant (Public Safety) and Ed Niemi (Dean of Students). The group suggested four courses of action: work with Diversity Student Services to design posters with positive messages and images about diversity; create a brochure for departments on how Diversity Student Services staff can assist faculty and staff in incorporating diversity content in classes and programs; develop a training module to be used annually during faculty/staff orientation; and invite Kendall to campus.

“The last two steps have merged into one as a result of Dr. Kendall’s upcoming visit,” Reese said. “We hope to obtain ideas from Dr. Kendall's presentations and from discussions with her that will help us in developing our training program. The university has been more successful in the last year or so in terms of recruiting minority students. We still have a ways to go in retaining minority students at a higher level.”

Increasing diversity was one of the priorities outlined by President Judi Bailey in her fall convocation address. Kendall's itinerary begins at 8 p.m. Tuesday with a presentation to students who supervise other students and those in “front-line” student service positions. On Wednesday she will meet with President Judi Bailey, Fred Joyal (Academic Affairs) and Mike Roy (Finance and Administration). She will also make presentations to the following employee groups Dec. 5:

10 a.m. – noon: Senior Administrative and Administrative Professional staff, Michigan and Ontario Rooms;
1:30-2:30 p.m.: Clerical/Technical staff, Michigan and Ontario Rooms; and
3-5 p.m.: Deans, Directors and Department Heads, Brule/Cadillac Rooms.
All employees in these classifications are encouraged to attend.