The head of the UNC system’s student leadership organization is threatening to fire any of his officers who publicly criticize it.
On Friday Atul Bhula, president of the UNC Association of Student Governments, sent an e-mail to the association’s executive officers, directing them against freely corresponding with the press and speaking negatively about the association.
In the e-mail, Bhula warns officers that endorsing student body president candidates whose platforms don’t align with the “vision” of ASG will result in dismissal.
The association includes delegates from all 17 UNC-system schools and is funded by $1 annually in student fees, which pays for officer stipends and travel costs to monthly meetings throughout the state.
Members of the UNC College Republicans, who are campaigning to put the University’s participation in the association to a vote, said the e-mail demonstrates how closed the association is to criticism.
Anthony Dent, chairman of College Republicans, said for an organization that represents students, the e-mail is not a good example of transparency.
“It’s a great arrangement for Atul and other officers of ASG because they all have huge stipends and get to attend monthly meetings in four star hotels,” Dent said.
But Bhula, whose annual stipend is $7,000, said he was reminding officers of the association’s ethics act which prevents them from getting involved with campus elections.
Getting involved with campus politics as an ASG officer can interfere with representing students on the state level, he said.