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UNC-system Association of Student Governments lobbies state about tuition

Student body presidents from across the UNC system will discuss strategies to lobby the state legislature at the Saturday meeting of the Association of Student Governments.

 ASG, an organization of student leaders from around the UNC system, is trying to persuade the N.C. General Assembly to send revenue generated from tuition increases back to universities.

The money is currently slated to go into the state’s general fund.

Student body presidents have been collecting students’ signatures on a petition that asks the legislature to return money and to approve the tuition-increase proposals made by the campuses, rather than the legislature.

“Student government hasn’t taken this active of a role in while,” said David Bevevino, UNC-Chapel Hill student body vice president.

Jasmin Jones, UNC-CH student body president, said 2,500 signatures have been collected at UNC-CH so far — half the number Jones pledged to get by the end of the semester.

Jim Ceresnak, student body president at N.C. State University, said the signature-gathering process is well on its way at his campus. The NCSU student government plans to collect 10,000 to 15,000 signatures.

Jones and ASG President Greg Doucette have also met with legislators to advocate ASG’s position.

The initial meetings have been a process of learning what works and what doesn’t work, Bevevino said.

There is still plenty of time to talk to lawmakers, Doucette said.

“The legislature isn’t going to convene until the middle of May,” he said. “It’s still early.”

Next week the UNC-system Board of Governors will meet to discuss tuition-increase proposals.

Doucette said the student body presidents are waiting to pursue lobbying fully until the board approves a final plan, so that ASG members can lobby with the support of the whole system — not just student governments — behind them.

‘That’s when we can really step up and engage folks,” Doucette said.

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