The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday March 31st

Coalition Seeks to Build Statewide Alliance

During last year's tuition battle, a group of UNC-Chapel Hill students formed the Coalition for Educational Access to fight against the increase.

Their efforts failed, and the UNC Board of Governors approved a $600 tuition boost for UNC-CH and N.C. State University.

Three other UNC-system universities - East Carolina University, UNC-Wilmington, and UNC-Charlotte - also raised tuition by smaller amounts.

But that's not the end of the story.

At the end of the spring semester last year, members of the coalition said they hoped to form a statewide lobbying group.

But those plans have not yet come to fruition.

UNC-CH senior Shannon Goodrum, a political science major, said coalition members still plan to form the group but were delayed due to some people graduating and others leaving for summer break.

"Our definite future goal is to build a statewide alliance of students, administrators and community about educational access, accountability and financial aid for students," Goodrum said.

She added that members of the coalition are focusing their efforts on the bond referendum and voter registration.

The coalition has not officially met since the end of the 1999-2000 school year.

UNC-CH junior Erica Smiley, a political science major, said the group has not been very active this year because members of the group have been focusing on other issues.

"The motivation among the coalition is not there," Smiley said.

"Everyone's attention is focused on different things such as the elections."

She said there would be little structure to the organization until after the November elections.

But Smiley said she hopes the group will be revived next semester.

She added that the purpose of the group is to establish a student network spanning the UNC system.

If there is a need for statewide lobbying, the coalition could be the driving mechanism, Smiley said.

She added that although the group was originally formed around the tuition increase, the coalition would not be just a reactionary organization.

"We want to be proactive," Smiley said.

"Our goal is to network among the 16 UNC campuses, but the fundamental networking has not been done."

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