Members of N.C. Student Power Union chapters from UNC-Greensboro, N.C. State University and UNC-Chapel Hill will protest from their individual campuses as the meeting begins in Chapel Hill.
“The board is inherently undemocratic,” said Elizabeth Brown, organizer for UNC-CH’s chapter of Student Power. “It’s 32 un-elected officials, most of whom have no background in education.”
At the budget and finance committee meeting, the board’s working group on financial aid and tuition will present its final report.
The “freeze and cap” plan, approved at the board’s August meeting, dictates that schools already using more than 15 percent of tuition revenue for need-based aid — like UNC-CH — cannot allocate additional tuition funds for financial aid, and are frozen at their 2014-15 levels of funding.
Board member Marty Kotis said the policy doesn’t limit other, larger sources of financial aid, but instead aims to prevent increases in tuition.
“I don’t even know what (students) are protesting now, and you’d think someone would have called or emailed to let us know what their concerns are,” he said. “Gathering together and chanting isn’t always most effective.”
Alex Parker, president of the UNC-system Association of Student Governments and the only student member on the board, said he disagrees with the new need-based aid policy.
“We definitely need to have a larger study done on the actual effects this policy is causing,” he said.
Students should get involved in university decision-making, he said, by communicating with board members and attending open meetings — rather than having more student members on the board.
Brown said she doesn’t plan to attend the meeting. She said the most important discussions among board members take place behind closed doors.
The UNC-G chapter of N.C. Student Power Union will present a list of proposed changes to the UNC system, Bryant said. The list emphasizes the reality of student debt and the need to address the firings of three UNC-G employees who were accused of working other jobs on university time.
Aaron Bryant, campus organizer for UNC-G’s chapter of N.C. Student Power Union, said he hopes to call attention to the need for representative bodies that truly represent students.
“We’re not necessarily as concerned about large numbers as we are raising voices.”