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The Daily Tar Heel

Bring more to the table: Progress at last weekend's ASG gathering slowed by members who seemed too detached from the issues

Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the proxy who wasn’t aware that the Four Year Tuition Plan was at the center of discussion. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.

Last weekend’s gathering of the Association of Student Governments at Fayetteville State University left us with a feeling that one thing was truly lacking from the organization: preparedness.

In the past, this board has brought a great deal of skepticism and cynicism to our coverage of ASG — for good reason. It gets nearly a quarter of a million dollars annually — $1 in fees from each student — and spends much of it on members’ travel and lodging expenses to make meetings.

So understandably, success or failure largely rides on the ability to make progress at these gatherings.

And to be fair, some progress was made. Tuition was the topic of the day, and a special committee was formed to draft a tuition proposal for ASG president Atul Bhula to present to the Board of Governors.

But it was an uphill struggle. Confusion over parliamentary procedure left many confused as to what was going on. It felt as if more time was spent on trying to figure out how to motion for discussion than on discussion itself. The irony was that a motion wasn’t needed.

Amidst all of this, we felt that UNC’s delegation performed well. Student Body President Hogan Medlin made strong points regarding tuition policy. In a deliberative body that seemed awfully equivocal, a clear and strong opinion was welcome. But it’s not enough — greater attentiveness is needed from the body at large.

A lack of engagement also pervaded the individual committee meetings. The Academic and Student Affairs Committee discussed advising issues, but most discussion centered on personal experiences and hearsay. Some didn’t even mention advising but discussed unrelated issues. It seemed like very few conducted thoughtful inquiry to prepare, thus undermining their legitimacy as representatives of their respective student bodies.

The Student Body Presidents’ Council also exhibited unpreparedness — perhaps because many presidents sent proxies rather than personally attending. The representative from Appalacian State University wasn’t even aware of the Four Year Tuition Plan that was at the center of discussion.

At the end of the day, the can was kicked three weeks down the road, allotting that much time to draft a tuition proposal for the BOG.

A lack of preparation and engagement with the issues, coupled with leaders’ absences, squandered the opportunity for campuses to productively collaborate.

Fortunately, that speaks more to what individuals brought to the table than to the potential of the organization itself.

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