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The Daily Tar Heel

Time to take our $1 back: Incoming administration should lobby Board of Governors to end relationship with ASG

The Association of Student Governments’ budget is funded by a $1 fee from every student in the UNC system.

It’s about time we got it back. Students simply are not seeing the benefits of belonging to the systemwide student lobbying body.

In reality, the UNC-system Board of Governors has the ultimate say in the matter. For instance, when UNC-Asheville and UNC-Charlotte withdrew briefly, students still had to pay the fee.

But that doesn’t mean Hogan Medlin’s incoming administration shouldn’t try to persuade the board to end mandatory participation in ASG.

ASG is no stranger to charges of misappropriation of funds.

Student Body President Jasmin Jones opposed ASG’s current budget priorities during discussion of the 2010-11 budget at this month’s meeting — and with good reason.

Of the nearly $207,000 it receives from 2009-10 student fees, 97 percent of it goes toward expenses relating to officer compensation, meeting expenses, operational costs and miscellaneous expenses next school year.

And less than 3 percent goes back to special projects, programming and advocacy.

Proponents of ASG often laud the success of the association’s annual emergency fund.

Leftover money not used by July of each academic year becomes a source of funding for projects on campuses — usually about $17,000.

But for our University, the only tangible benefit of belonging to the ASG this year has been a $1,000 grant for installing NextBus on the P2P.

You do the math. It’s obvious UNC-Chapel Hill’s nearly 29,000 students are not receiving a return on their investment.

To note, ASG does have potential. For instance, Jones worked with ASG to lobby members of the N.C. General Assembly to return the $200 tuition increase. And Medlin is looking forward to helping ASG function in a more campus-oriented way.

But we won’t know the fruits of their labor until next year.

We are the flagship university for the UNC system. The actions taken on behalf of our campus leaders resonate a bit louder with the system at large.

The Medlin administration should not only withdraw, but lobby the Board of Governors to return our money.

We should keep the money where it is most effective and where it most belongs — our campus.

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