Facing impending tuition hikes, the UNC-system Association of Student Governments is taking a harder look at how well it represents students.
ASG President Atul Bhula issued Monday an executive order that will create a task force to examine the inner workings and effectiveness of the association.
The association represents all 17 UNC-system schools and is funded by a $1 annual fee from each student in the system.
“We want to make sure that when we do meet and use student fee money to come together, we’re being effective as possible,” said Mary Cooper, UNC-CH student body president and chairwoman of the task force.
Bhula said the executive order — which charges the task force to address the performance and the long-term sustainability of the association — is a formality, and the task force has been in the works since he was elected for his second term as president.
“This was one of our campaign promises from last year, that we were going to look at how ASG operates,” Bhula said.
Arjay Quizon, ASG’s senior vice president, said he has expressed concerns about the association’s occasional inability to meet quorum and attract delegates from different universities.
“As a former student body president, I’ve already told Atul that there may be something we’re not doing right,” he said. “The idea of the task force is just to look at how ASG is running. There may be a better structure for us to use to better serve our students.”
Lauren Estes, Appalachian State University student body president and a member of the task force, said she hopes the examination furthers the association’s mission to represent students.
“I think some of that gets lost in the politics of everything — there’s 17 different wants and needs in the association.”
The task force will hold Bhula and Quizon accountable so they represent all students, she said.
Cooper said the efficiency of the association’s monthly meetings will also be called into question.
“The question has always been, what did we do for students this weekend?” she said. “And the answer in the past has typically been, ‘Well, we haven’t really done anything. We’re going to save it for next month.’”
Members of the association are still unsure how they will implement the task force’s recommendations.
“I can’t give you an answer on how we’re going to do this, but we’re going to try our best,” Quizon said. “Our system might be the best way or it might be the worst way. The task force will decide.”
The association will wait until the task force’s recommendation before making changes, Bhula said.
“We don’t know how to solve it if we don’t know what the problem is.”
Cooper said the task force is necessary to help the association reach its potential.
“It’s great that it’s happening, but it’s well overdue,” she said.
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