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NC legislature rejects ASG busing request for tuition meetings

The UNC-system Board of Governors will decide tuition increases for all UNC-system schools next week, and many students are hoping to attend and voice their opinion.

But unexpected obstacles from the UNC General Administration might stand in their way.

Members of the Educational Justice Alliance — a student-led UNC group — asked members of the Association of Student Governents at a special meeting Saturday to fund buses that would bring students from across the state to the Feb. 10 board meeting.

Steve Milder, a member of the group, said student body presidents were in support of the association funding transportation to the board meeting.

But the association has to seek approval from the General Administration for using its funds for anything other than officer stipends.

The General Administration rejected ASG President Atul Bhula’s request to use part of the association’s annual $1 student fee to pay for buses.

The association is composed of student leaders from the 17 system institutions. Members meet monthly at different UNC-system campuses.

Bhula contacted student body presidents Wednesday to tell them permission to fund the busses had been denied.

TJ Eaves, student body president of Western Carolina University, said that the news came as a shock.

“I walked out of (Saturday’s) meeting 99 percent sure that we were going to be able to do this.”

Funding the trip to Chapel Hill from Western North Carolina will be difficult, Eaves said.

He said he hopes other student body presidents will still try to mobilize students to attend the meeting, but he realizes that many student governments won’t have the money to do it.

Eaves said he’s willing to use WCU’s student government’s budget to support student-involvement in the tuition decision.

Lauren Estes, Appalachian State University student body president, said she understands that ASG was not created to act politically, but the conversation has changed with tuition.

She said ASU won’t be able to fund busing for students to the meeting in Chapel Hill, but she plans to attend with some members of the university’s student government.

Members of the Education Justice Alliance, who plan to attend the meeting, said they are looking into other alternatives to get students to the meeting.

The group has been working with the N.C. Defend Education Alliance, which includes students from 11 different schools, to bring students to the meeting.

Zaina Alsous, a junior at UNC-CH and member of Education Justice Alliance, said she’s willing to drive students to the meeting herself.

“The Board of Governors (meeting) is affecting all North Carolina university students,” she said. “It’s hours away for other students.”

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