The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday August 12th

UNC-system president Thomas Ross said student input needed to come earlier in the tuition process

UNC President Tom Ross spoke and answered student questions Wednesday night in Carroll Hall concerning the  February 10 Board of Governors meeting to vote on a proposed 8.8 percent tuition increase for 2012-13 and 4.2 percent in 2013-14.
Buy Photos UNC President Tom Ross spoke and answered student questions Wednesday night in Carroll Hall concerning the February 10 Board of Governors meeting to vote on a proposed 8.8 percent tuition increase for 2012-13 and 4.2 percent in 2013-14.

Student protesters, who have opposed tuition increases since October, will likely have little influence when the UNC-system Board of Governors votes on tuition proposals on Feb. 10.

At a meeting Wednesday night, students pushed UNC-system President Thomas Ross for more representation at board meetings, so they can be more active in the tuition debate.

But Ross said it would be difficult to know if students will influence the board’s decision when they vote in eight days.

Wednesday’s meeting was organized after student groups emailed Ross asking to work with him on tuition increases, said Student Body President Mary Cooper.

“A lot of the movements are showing that students care and want to be engaged,” she said.

Plans for the meeting, which was held on campus in Carroll Hall, were put together hastily and finalized Tuesday evening, Cooper said.

Students at the meeting said they want to have more of a voice in the decision and a vote in Friday’s tuition increase decision.

But Ross said students have had an opportunity to provide their insight on tuition.

“There will be some people on both sides that aren’t happy,” Ross said.

He encouraged students to participate in the tuition discussion by communicating at the campus level and by sending emails to members of the board.

“I don’t know if it will have a difference if they vote,” he said. “But the board is trying hard to make sure students have a voice.”

He said students also have a representative on the board to whom they can relay their concerns.

Atul Bhula, the president of the Association of Student Governments, is the sole non-voting student member of the board.

Students also voiced their opposition to steep tuition hikes that have been proposed by most of the UNC-system campuses.

Ross made his own tuition increase proposal to the board last week, calling for all in-state undergraduate tuition and fee proposals to not exceed a 9.9 percent increase.

Ross’ proposal, if passed by the board at its Feb. 10 meeting, would be $105 less per in-state undergraduate at UNC-CH than what the University proposed, totalling $2.3 million less in overall revenue for the University.

Senior Ana Maria Reichenbach, an international studies major who is also a member of Students for a Democratic Society, said she disagrees with the tuition proposals.

She said many students feel like they are running out of options to get their voices heard by the board.

“I am really mad that this process is shutting out students,” she said. “Students need to come into this situation. (The board) needs to reach out to us.”

Ross said it might be possible to set up an open forum with board members, but students need to take the initiative and contact them first.

“I want to help and be available,” he said.

Laura McCready, a member of the Campus Y’s cabinet, said students need to have a bigger role in the tuition decision.

The system suffered a cut in state funding of 15.6 percent, or $414 million, last year, and some administrators feel the campuses’ needs might only be met through tuition increases.

“It is not going to fill a hole, but we hope to put band aids on the deepest bleeding,” Ross said.

McCready said she is glad Ross took the time to meet with the students.

“It is absurd how little students participate in the process.”

But she said that while she likes Ross’ tuition proposal better than the University’s, his proposed 9.9 percent increase will still hurt many in-state undergraduates.

“We need to think harder about who bears the brunt of the budget cuts,” McCready said.

Contact the State & National Editor at state@dailytarheel.com.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.



Comments

The Daily Tar Heel Victory Paper for March 7, 2022

Special Print Edition

Games & Horoscopes

Print Edition Games Archive