Advocacy, or adios: ASG’s new leaders need to have a structured vision for the future

The Association of Student Governments has new leadership but looks to be up to the same old tricks.

After two years of leadership under President Atul Bhula, the association elected Western Carolina University’s Cameron Carswell and Alecia Page to lead the organization next year.

Under Bhula, the organization suffered from weak organization and was impotent on issues of student concern, namely tuition. Solving the association’s organization and reputation problems will and must be issue number one for Carswell.

To be successful, Carswell will need to move quickly to craft a structure and vision for the association that encourages unity and promotes advocacy across its 17 campuses.

In short, she needs to give delegates, like UNC’s Student Body President Will Leimenstoll, a reason to keep coming back. But so far, it doesn’t look like that is going to happen.

Hours before being elected at last weekend’s meeting, Carswell and other delegates voted to ultimately give herself and other officers a 10 percent pay raise. Thanks to Carswell’s hard work, she will now earn $6,050 as the association’s president.

Increasing officer stipends after years of poor performance is the wrong approach and a poor use of student funds. Carswell should have known better.

Each year, students pay $1 to ASG to advocate on behalf of students to the UNC-system Board of Governors.

It’s your money and it’s supposed to advance your interests, not the wallets of your fellow students — but that’s exactly what happened.

Rather than focusing on raising stipends for poor performers, ASG should be working to prove its value to the UNC-system by putting itself to work advocating for all 220,000 UNC-system students.

If ASG’s new leadership can not prove their worth, UNC should lead by example and petition to leave the association.

Earlier this year, UNC students gave ASG a second chance by voting to stay in it. But if the organization does not become more efficient under the new leadership, UNC does not have much more reason to stay.

Thanks for reading.

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