"Students Day at the Legislature" will include ASG members and students from across the state who will meet with state senators and representatives to discuss three issues that affect the UNC system -- a student vote on the UNC-system Board of Governors, faculty salary increases and more funding for need-based financial aid.
ASG President Andrew Payne said the purpose of the rally is also to support BOG recommendations that will be presented to the General Assembly during the upcoming legislative session.
But Charles Lawley III, N.C. State University ASG delegate and the event's organizer, said the issue of the BOG student vote will be pushed the hardest. "It gives one student the chance to represent all students at a higher level," Lawley said.
Under current state law, the president of the ASG has a seat on the BOG but is not allowed to vote.
ASG Vice President Liz Gardner said that a student vote on the BOG would help add legitimacy to student governments.
Lawley said the N.C. State Board of Trustees already has passed a resolution that will support the student vote. He added that members of boards of trustees on other campuses are discussing similar resolutions. In April 1999, an effort to gain a student vote on the BOG died in a Senate committee.
And finding support for the two other initiatives might prove difficult because of the state's almost $500 million deficit.
Payne said that now is a good time for these initiatives to be proposed because of the strong support of the $3.1 billion higher education bond that passed with 74 percent of the vote in last year's election.
"In order to recruit and retain the best faculty, universities need more money," Gardner said.
She also said the deficit will have some effect over the initiatives but added that the best way to jump-start the economy is through education.
"Universities are one of, if not the most, important economic tools this state has," she said.
Lawley said it will be hard to predict the outcome but was optimistic that the event will set the stage for years to come because of student support.
Lawley said students will converge at N.C. State and then proceed downtown where they will listen to several speakers and then meet with members of the state legislature.
He added that at a meeting Saturday ASG members will discuss some of the logistics of the event and ways to promote the day.
Gardner said she is excited about the event, which will give students a unique experience to meet with legislators.
"This is the first year this has been done," Gardner said. "It's a great opportunity for the legislature to see student commitment."
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