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The Daily Tar Heel

Association of Student Governments elects new leaders for 2014-15

The election of two new leaders, resolutions confronting student voting concerns and a handful of proposed and passed reforms filled the UNC-system Association of Student Governments’ penultimate meeting this weekend.

ASG, which is funded by a $1 annual student fee, is a student advocacy organization composed of delegates from all 17 UNC-system schools.

Alex Parker, student body president of N.C. State University, will take the helm as president of the association, and Leigh Whittaker, student body president of UNC-Asheville, will stand beside him as senior vice president.

Parker and Whittaker want to better the association’s reputation with increased transparency and professionalism through reforms.

Parker said he hopes in five to 10 years if the organization’s reputation has improved, ASG will have a vote in the UNC-system Board of Governors.

“We’re not going to stand here and make a bedazzled platform,” Whittaker said during the meeting.

She said she wanted to see unity among smaller and larger schools and more grants being handed out to universities.

All of the reform bills were written and sponsored by members of the NCSU delegation, but Parker said they were not guided by his vision.

Some of these structural reforms were passed during the meeting, and in total, three reforms and four resolutions were passed, one reform was struck down and one resolution was tabled.

Among the reforms passed were removal of a chief information officer, allowing legislation to be written and passed in the same meeting, and reduction of delegates per school from four to three.

A bill that would have defined the roles of each of the three delegates was struck down unanimously on the floor for concerns about the association having too much control of individual school delegations and of inadequate representation of graduate students.

A resolution was passed to adopt an electronic voting system to record and publicize delegates’ votes, make voting more efficient and take attendance, in hopes of boosting transparency.

Voting rights were also a concern in the organization as Dylan Russell, student body president of Appalachian State University, brought two resolutions to the meeting.

“We find this issue to be deeply concerning,” he said. “Voting is a basic civil right.”

The first was in support of restoring an on-campus voting site at ASU after the local Board of Elections removed it two weeks ago.

Russell said the only explanation for the removal of the site was that its location was unfair to rural voters, but he said the removal of the site would affect both students and faculty, as ASU is the second-largest employer in Watauga County.

Russell also presented a resolution to confront the voter identification law’s ban on college IDs at the polls, supporting changes to UNC-system IDs so that they function for students in voting places.

Both resolutions passed.

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