The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Friday, Sept. 29, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Yo, Congress, represent!

Congress should abandon districts based on residence

Despite the squabbles and procedural issues that have plagued Student Congress this year, there remains a larger, more intrinsic problem: representation — or lack thereof.

There are several problems. First, Congress is overwhelmingly composed of white males. This is a surprising statistic, given that about 60 percent of this campus is female.

And most members are sophomores and juniors, leaving seniors and freshmen underrepresented as well. This is part of the more fundamental problem of a residence-based representation system.

Congress represents the entire student body and has the power to distribute student fees.

These problems need to be addressed.

First, it’s important that women and other minorities are encouraged to run for Student Congress.

Next, representatives should be elected by class instead of by their residency.

The current system is a detriment to the goal of a truly representative Congress with members who reflect and understand the needs of their constituents.

Students in dorms have little in common except their address. They represent students of all years, with many different needs and desires.

The U.S. Congress uses a residence-based districting system to reflect the fundamental importance of geographical community needs.

But at UNC, the most important community is not one’s residence — it’s one’s class.

So Congress should be restructured to reflect those class-based shared interests.

Further, Congress doesn’t even have the authority to deal with specific dorm needs — that’s under the purview of the Residence Hall Association.

These are changes that would not be very difficult to implement, and they would help to better represent constituents’ interests.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.