The Association for Student Governments decided last weekend to delay a push for a vote on the UNC-system Board of Governors — a decision that was short-sighted and reflects ASG’s ineptness.
On Saturday, an ASG council comprising student body presidents of the 17 UNC-system campuses tabled ASG president Atul Bhula’s bill lobbying for a vote at system board meetings. Bhula attends and has the power to speak during the board meetings but currently does not have the power to vote on decisions.
Members of the council cited Bhula’s inability to effectively lobby against legislators and board members at meetings as a reason to table the bill.
Since Bhula’s position is temporary, to delay progress in efforts to get the ASG leader a vote is incredibly short-sighted. Future ASG presidents will be affected, and the fight for a student vote on the board has been ongoing since the 90s.
ASG members recognize that the organization isn’t doing the best job serving student interests. But halting efforts to gain a student vote on the board will only make matters worse.
The president is an important liaison between the more than 200,000 students in the UNC system and administrators. Students also pay a $1 fee annually to finance ASG. If ASG has minimal effect on how decisions are made at BOG meetings, one could question why students pay for the association at all.
A vote at BOG meetings is more effective than no vote at all. And we agree that ASG needs to prove itself capable of using that vote wisely. But perhaps the vote would be a step toward true impact, giving ASG something it can take seriously.
The fact that student body presidents from across the UNC system voted down Bhula’s bill for a vote speaks volumes on how much they think a student vote would mean. Yet the best way to correct glaring ineffectiveness is for the student body presidents to redouble efforts to give Bhula a sophisticated platform to advocate from.
Jettisoning a long-standing effort to give students greater voice is the wrong response.