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The Daily Tar Heel

BOG speaks out on budget

Passes resolutions against provisions

The UNC-system’s governing body might be losing its grip.

But, as the Board of Governors demonstrated last week at its meeting, it won’t relinquish its jurisdiction over the system’s tuition decisions without a fight.

The body unanimously approved a resolution Friday condemning the N.C. Senate’s budget passed May 5 that would delegate what has been the board’s responsibility since its establishment in 1971.

The Senate’s budget proposal was the crowning touch to a year full of power struggles between the board and the General Assembly. Last summer, the N.C. General Assembly passed a budget that approved funds for a massive capital projects package the system had yet to approve.

While legislators were well within their rights, the historic process had been disrupted.

And echoes of that decision can be seen in the 11th-hour provision, which would allow UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State University to set their own tuition rates without approval from the board.

“I believe this is a bad idea,” said Jim Phillips, chairman of the board’s Budget and Finance Committee.

“It significantly impacts in a negative way this board’s ability to govern and manage this system as a whole.”

The Senate provision was reportedly added after two weeks of communication between UNC-CH lobbyists and the offices of Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight and Sen. Tony Rand, D-Cumberland.

The senators’ staffs asked UNC-CH officials for feedback on drafts of the proposal.

System officials first heard of the provision long after UNC-CH officials entered talks with the senators. “It certainly was disappointing,” said system President Molly Broad of UNC-CH’s closed-door communication with legislative leaders.

Some board members mentioned Friday the possibility of differentiated tuition plans for each system school, recognizing that schools such as UNC-CH and N.C. State might have special needs.

Opponents of the Senate provision hope distinction in tuition decisions might make legislative interference superfluous.

“Carolina is not trying to get out of the system,” said BOG member Anne Cates. “I think the word is frustration. Remember these research universities, their government funds are being cut.”

The BOG also approved Friday a motion against another last-minute addition to the Senate’s budget that would allow out-of-state students with full scholarships to a system school to be counted as in-state students.

This would allow system schools to admit more out-of-state students than the 18 percent cap provides.

Contact the State & National Editor at stntdesk@unc.edu.

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