Monthly Archives: January 2013

Students Organize For Increased Wages

student workersEvery now and then, students come together on something that they feel needs to be changed on campus. The fall of 1968 saw the organization of students over the issue of student worker pay rates. What seems like a penance now was the cause for contention: students felt that the hourly rate of $1.25 was too low.

Over 300 students organized into the Student Workers Organization which threatened to protest if its “demands” were not met. Initially, those demands weren’t clear. Even the group’s chosen spokesperson admitted that they needed more time to figure out what those demands were.

But that’s not to say that their ideas were far-fetched. The newspaper The Northern News found that Northern’s student wage rates were significantly lower than other schools and, what’s more, lacked policy and procedure for increase over time or for more skilled labor.

President Jamrich was empathetic to their requests. He went so far as to say that he “would never take punitive action against a group of students who are trying to bring attention to a problem area like this in the University,” the Northern News said. Jamrich encouraged the group to go through the appropriate university avenues to make their voices heard – rather than threatening protests or other dramatic responses.

As a result, the group met with the school’s vice president for business and finance, Leo Van Tassel. The initial frustration was brought to the administration’s attention in the beginning of November 1968, and by Dec. 6, not only had the group and Tassel come to an agreement but the Board of Control had also approved the terms to take effect immediately and retroactively since Nov. 3.

The new graduated system made $1.45 the minimum wage for students and allowed for a $.10 increase every 150 hours of work. Additionally, student supervisors were allowed higher wages.

Another problem that students brought to the attention of administration was also reconsidered. That was the across-the-board policy that anyone with beards, mustaches or long hair would not even be considered for a job – regardless of the job description. In the policy that the Board of Control approved, the supervisor could make decisions about appearance.

This is a really positive experience about how students and administration worked together to affect change. It hasn’t always been so positive in the past, but it’s refreshing to see how students came together and were reasonable but persistent about their requests.

Written by Lucy Hough

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Show And Tell – Artifact Descriptions

Every item donated to us here at the Beaumier Heritage Center is placed into our database. The database allows us to keep track of what we have and where everything is located. We try to record as much information about the artifact as possible. Although there are things we might not know about the object, we can always at least put in its description. This is arguably some of the most important information we collect (second only to its story).

This sounds like very obvious information, and it is, but it is not always easy to describe some of the objects in our procession. The description needs to be specific enough that someone who is searching for the item has an approximate idea of what they are looking for and would be able to distinguish it from other similar objects.

How would you describe these objects? You can see our descriptions below.

Object A

Object A

Object B

Object B

Object C

Object C

A) Thermometer encased in a decorative wooden handle. The end of the wood contains a sharp copper point, similar looking to a bullet. The top of the wooden handle is threaded with a string for hanging. The front of the wood face is carved out to display the thermometer which ranges from 18 F – 84 F.

B) Black handkerchief with symbols of animals in red, yellow, white, and black.

C) Metal amulet on a red velvet lanyard. It is in the shape of an oval and a pedestal in the middle with ‘flames’ in the shape of an E and S.

Written By Stephen Glover of the BHC.

The (nearly) Fifty-First State.

First of all, sorry for being a bit late. We’ve had a rash of below-zero temperatures up here in Marquette, and Northern closed the campus these past two days due to dangerous conditions–can you believe the windchill was -30 degrees on Tuesday morning? Anyways, it may be late, but we’ve got a good one for you today!

Those of us who have visited or lived in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan would probably agree that our isolated piece of paradise is nothing short of unique. The breathtaking landscape and spirited residents give it a pasty-eating, snow-loving, nature-protecting atmosphere unlike that of the urbanized counterpart on the other side of the bridge. While many enjoy the playful Yooper/Troll rivalry, people of the past tried to sever the ties between these two peninsulas.

Portrait of Dominic Jacobetti In 1975, Michigan State Representative Dominic Jacobetti, of Negaunee, led a movement for the Upper Peninsula to break away Lower Michigan and become its own state.  His call for separate statehood was fuelled by the notion that “downstate interests” were a hindrance to the progression and growth of the Upper Peninsula. Some of Jacobetti’s arguments included the idea that the U.P. could support itself with its abundance of natural resources, and he bristled at the tradition of shipping them to downstate communities. He also argued that due to its geographic location and sparse population, the U.P. is subject to a very different set of political issues which do not correlate with the urbanized areas of Lower Michigan. The overall feeling of disconnect between the Lansing agenda and the needs of the Upper Peninsula pushed Jacobetti to call for statehood.

The idea to legalize gambling was suggested during debates about how to run “Superior”, the 51st State. Jacobetti suggested creating a sort of “mini Las Vegas” to attract tourist to bring in revenue and lower the need for local taxes. Remember, this was before Indian Casinos began to pop up all across the state!

Jacobetti was not the first to suggest U.P. statehood. A similar bill was proposed in 1962, but it was not taken seriously by the State Legislature. Dominic Jacobetti’s call for the creation of “Superior” was given much more publicity due to his political reputation, however the bill still did not pass.

Even before that, back in 1916, the first issue of Clover-Land Magazine argued for the creation of a new state. Roger Andrews, the magazine’s creator, was quoted as saying

I am not the leader of any chosen people, nor the arch prophet of the Upper Peninsula.
I am not a candidate for any political office of any sort.
I want to work in the ranks of the loyal company who believe in Clover-Land, who love it and want the world to know it as it is.
I see in the campaign for separate statehood a great opportunity to call the attention of the country to our rich and growing section, endowed in a score of was beyond many of the older states of the Union.

Exciting stuff, right? As with the later efforts, however, Andrews’ proposal never gained enough momentum.

A map illustrating the "Superior" State

If you’d like to know more about State Representative Dominic Jacobetti and his call for U.P. Statehood, come down to the NMU Archives in room 126 of the Learning Resource Center on campus and check out the full collection of Dominic Jacobetti papers. Before you do, you might want to check out the finding aid here. Alternatively, you could check out James Carter’s book on the subject, Superior, A State for the North CountryWe hope to see you soon!

Prepared by Savannah Mallo and Olivia Ernst.