The president of the UNC-system Association of Student Governments should be able to vote during the Board of Governors’ meetings.
Atul Bhula, the current president of ASG, has done the right thing by making obtaining this privilege his goal.
Currently, the ASG representative on the BOG can only speak or make motions at meetings.
The Board of Governors is in the process of reviewing the Four Year Tuition Plan. This review will greatly affect the tuition structure of UNC-system schools. If a student had a vote in the board’s decision, it could ensure that students get the fairest deal possible.
At many system schools, including UNC-Chapel Hill, the student body president is a voting member of their respective Boards of Trustees. It is broadly supported and considered an important privilege of the student body president.
So it seems only natural to extend this model up the ladder to the ASG president and the BOG.
ASG is funded by student fees from all the campuses of UNC. It uses this money to advocate for lower tuition and to fight for other student needs. If the legislature passes a bill allowing ASG to have a vote, it will be better able to serve this purpose.
For an organization that is often regarded as inefficient and ineffective, gaining this voting right would be a huge leap forward in obtaining more concrete gains for the students it represents.
Former ASG president Greg Doucette — one of the few ASG leaders to not push for a vote — did not believe fighting for the vote was worth the “political capital.”
But it would be worth spending a little political capital to gain even more.
Gaining a vote in an important voting body such as the BOG should always be a high priority — especially since lobbying this group is one of ASG’s main roles.
Having a say at the BOG meetings is not enough. A voting right would give concrete power to a representative that is directly connected to students.
A big election year could bring a very different legislature to Raleigh that may finally be receptive to giving ASG a vote. For Bhula, the timing might finally be right.
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