With several major issues facing the group this year, controversy surrounding the committee's deliberations and a turnaround in leadership have convinced some that the committee's advisory role has become less effective.
TPAC's internal obstacles began in December, when amid heated debate about the possibility of the implementation of night parking permits, Associate Provost Linda Carl resigned from her post as TPAC chairwoman.
Just prior to Carl's resignation, the committee had been accused by many students and student leaders of ignoring student input on issues like night parking.
The University then appointed Bob Knight, assistant vice chancellor for finance and administration, as TPAC chairman in January.
As Knight took the helm, the committee was dealing with some of its most trying decisions.
The Department of Public Safety is facing a $2 million budget shortfall for the 2002-03 fiscal year, and TPAC has the daunting task of recommending possible sources of revenue to subsidize the crisis.
The committee must submit a budget proposal to Chancellor James Moeser before the UNC Board of Trustees on March 28 meeting where Moeser will present his final DPS budget recommendation for a vote.
But the process hit a snag at Wednesday's TPAC meeting. Knight presented five budget guidelines for the committee to vote on, claiming they were handed down from the chancellor.
But Knight later admitted that the directives were his own creation and that he had not met with Moeser prior to Wednesday's meeting.
The discrepancy has led many TPAC members to hold a new degree of skepticism regarding their influence on issues they have faced all year.
TPAC member Sue Estroff, Faculty Council chairwoman, said she attributes TPAC's plight only partially to the recent leadership turnover and more to institutional problems with the committee.
Estroff said she believes last week's events are just another example of the committee not planning adequately and not using its resources efficiently enough to set long-term goals.
Although Estroff said she thinks last week's situation was a disaster, she insists Knight is doing the best he can with the issues he has inherited and that she hopes the situation won't divide administrators and students.
"We can either have a degree of optimism or throw in the towel and have it become one big food fight," she said.
Student Body President Justin Young, who serves on the committee, said that when TPAC voted on Knight's directives last week thinking they were Moeser's, the situation cast doubt on the committee's advising role.
"The process is tainted as far as I'm concerned," he said.
"The is no way to get accurate representation ... It goes to show we have bigger problems that a lot of people are not willing to deal with, and we need to fix them."
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