ASG to talk tuition, election rules

The UNC-system Association of Student Governments will meet this weekend at Appalachian State University, as UNC-CH students prepare to vote next week on whether to remain a part of the organization.

The association, which includes delegates from the 17 system schools and is funded by an annual $1 student fee, will consider six different resolutions, including one to show support for UNC-system President Tom Ross’ tuition plan and two concerning election-day attendance policies.

Ross said in August he supports an in-state tuition freeze for undergraduate and graduate students in the system.

Association President Robert Nunnery said this resolution does not address the out-of-state tuition hike set to take effect next year at most system schools. UNC-CH out-of-state students will see a 12.3-percent increase.

He said he hopes the resolution will jump-start discussion among delegates about tuition. Schools’ rates for next year will be finalized in February.

Connor Brady, the speaker of UNC Student Congress, will represent the University along with Shelby Hudspeth, student government’s director of state and external affairs, in place of Student Body President Christy Lambden. Brady said in an email he would support efforts to encourage student voters, including the resolution that would address attendance policies on Election Day.

But Brady said he would not support the voting day holiday because the idea is unfeasible.

He said having six resolutions up for consideration is unprecedented at an ASG meeting. Past meetings have been criticized for inefficiency, he said — a charge that led to UNC-CH Student Congress’ vote to let students decide on remaining in the association.

“I find it somewhat telling that these resolutions were all submitted quickly and hastily after Student Congress took up the resolution to put ASG membership on the ballot here,” Brady said.

Nunnery said he was worried that UNC-CH would have less ability to advocate for students if it left the association.

“The group does need improvement and work, but it needs that perspective and dialogue from all 17 schools,” he said.

But Brady said students would not see a negative impact from cutting ties with ASG. He said the group was more concerned with losing UNC-CH’s membership dues — University students contributed $27,069 this year.

“The executive and legislative branches, as well as many student advocacy groups right here on campus, are doing the advocacy work that ASG is not doing for us already,” he said.

Nunnery cited several examples of the association’s recent advocacy, including allocating $50,000 for voter education and garnering media attention for its opposition to a gun bill allowing firearms to be kept in locked vehicles on college campuses.

He said there would be talks this weekend about the direction of ASG as a whole.

“We want reform for the group,” he said. “We’re not closed-minded to anything moving forward.”

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