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Students should have say: Student Congress should pass bill allowing students to weigh in on UNC-CH’s ASG involvement

With the help of Student Congress, students might finally get to vote on UNC-Chapel Hill’s continued participation in the Association of Student Governments.

A bill making its way through Congress right now would provide for a special referendum on ASG to be held Dec. 2.

The association coordinates activities between the 17 UNC-system schools and provides a student voice on the Board of Governors.

The bill in its current form needs a few changes before it is passed by the full Congress. But it is a welcomed step in the right direction.

A ballot initiative would give students the ability to vote for or against the withdrawal of UNC-CH’s delegation from ASG.

The bill states that there has never been a student vote on the University’s participation in ASG since it was founded in 1972.

The organization’s mandate is to lobby on students’ behalf. But recently, it’s become apparent that ASG is not an effective use of our money or leaders’ time.

A $1 fee levied upon every student in the UNC-system funds ASG. When aggregated across the entire system, student fees to ASG have resulted in a formidable amount of feckless spending, with little to show for it.

In its $260,000 budget, almost $100,000 is appropriated just to salaries and administrative costs. Another $42,000 goes toward travel expenses. These expenses are frivolous.

Now, the chance for students to vote definitively on the University’s participation in ASG is within sight.

But first, problems with the current bill need to be addressed. The bill currently makes it incumbent upon Congress to write a resolution calling on Student Body President Jasmin Jones to ask the UNC-system Board of Governors to eliminate the fee and to disband the University’s delegation to ASG.

It should be revised so that Congress should be free to act upon the demonstrated will of the students, and no actions will have to be taken without debate and passage by Congress.

Still, this bill is a step along the path to ending the University’s involvement in a wasteful organization that students are forced to fund.

It should be properly amended and passed so that the students get the vote that they deserve.

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