GREENVILLE — As some at the University question the UNC Association of Student Governments’ credibility, the president’s attempt at improving its effectiveness was shot down by his own council members Saturday.
After much debate, student body presidents from across the state decided to table ASG President Atul Bhula’s bill, a campaign to gain a vote at UNC-system Board of Governors’ meetings.
Donors to UNC-CH
In anticipation of a budget shortfall, UNC-system schools are looking to donors to make up some of the difference.
The number of donors to UNC-Chapel Hill has increased in recent years —
- 2008: 74,854
- 2009: 77,486
- 2010: 78,039
In the 2010-11 fiscal year, the University raised $286.4 million, $52.2 million of which was invested in endowment funds.
Bhula, who is a non-voting member of the system board, still has the authority to speak out on behalf of UNC students at the meetings.
He said a vote on the board would increase the association’s credibility. UNC-CH’s College Republicans are petitioning for students to vote whether they should be a part of the organization, which they say is ineffective.
Members of the council — which is composed of student body presidents from UNC-system schools — said Bhula wasn’t prepared to argue their case against board members and legislators in gaining a vote.
“We haven’t made a strong point at the Board of Governors, and now we’re asking for a vote,” said Courtney Galatioto, student body president at UNC-Asheville.
The association is composed of student representatives from the UNC system’s 17 institutions. Travel to monthly meetings is funded by an annual $1 student fee from all UNC-system students.
Since 1997, most ASG presidents have been fighting to get a vote.
Galatioto said members have a responsibility to UNC students to work effectively and professionally to gain a vote because students fund the association.
“I don’t know if we’re showing students that we’re worth the $300,000 that we’re getting,” Galatioto said at the meeting.
College Republicans are also questioning the association’s use of the money.
If the club gets about 2,900 signatures, UNC’s participation in the association will be a referendum on the Feb. 8 ballot.
Anthony Dent, chairman of UNC’s College Republicans, said a vote on the board would make the association marginally more important.
“But at the end of the day, they will simply parrot whatever the president of the UNC system says,” he said.
If ASG passes Bhula’s bill at its February meeting, the student vote would still have to be approved by the N.C. General Assembly.
Katie Marshall, student body president at UNC-Greensboro, questioned whether the association could represent students effectively with the vote.
“Can we do our jobs without it? If not, let’s do it, and I’ll back you up completely,” she said during the meeting.
Phillip Dixon, a Board of Governors member, said faculty members don’t have a vote in board decisions either.
“In some respects, the students are in a better position than the faculty because the students have a seat at the table where the faculty does not,” he said.
Contact the State & National?Editor at email@example.com.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.