The UNC-system Board of Governors needs to post a detailed schedule for its February meetings so students who hope to attend can plan accordingly.
Though the decision will be made in Chapel Hill, its effects will be felt across the state. Unless the board telegraphs to students exactly when during the two-day meeting the discussion about tuition will take place, students from the 17 UNC-system campuses won’t be able to coordinate their efforts.
UNC-system President Thomas Ross’ proposed tuition increases for system schools will likely pass when the board meets Feb. 10, but students should still capitalize on the publicity surrounding the vote to make their voices heard.
If nothing else, protests outside the meeting will demonstrate to the board that students are not being effectively represented on the board and that they are clamoring to be part of the process.
Student participation in the meeting itself is also an issue. Currently, the only student who can speak at board meetings is Atul Bhula, the president of the UNC-system Association of Student Governments.
But for an issue like tuition, one voice isn’t enough, particularly a silent one. Bhula has barely spoken at board meetings, squandering a critical opportunity for student input.
The board should find ways to involve students more in its decision-making process, even if their procedures preclude participation by students other than Bhula. Though students will never be happy about a tuition increase, better involvement would likely mitigate their dissatisfaction.
In the future, the board should add a campus outreach event to its regular meeting schedule. In order for this model to work, however, interested students have to show up. Without continued participation in the process, students cannot expect the board to give much weight to their views.