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ASG lobbies for student participation in choosing new UNC system president

The Association of Student Governments met Friday and Saturday to discuss President Tom Ross’ sudden, forced resignation 10 days ago.

The meeting, which took place at N.C. Central University, included discussion of a revision to the current process of UNC-system presidential selection, which involves four committees.

Historically, students have only held a seat on one committee, but the revised bylaws may allow a student to participate more directly in the process.

Leigh Whittaker, senior vice president of the association, said students are currently serving on the least important committee — the leadership statement development committee.

The goal would be to win students seats on the search and selection committees, largely responsible for finding and choosing viable presidential candidates to replace Ross. President Alex Parker said he will submit his name to the Board of Governors for consideration, and the board will vote on committee members in February.

“It’s actually extremely important because it could change everything,” he said. “The leadership statement development committee — that’s not where we’re going to effect change.”

Campus security fee debated

Other discussions included measures to improve campus safety, namely a $50 to $100 campus security fee proposed by the Board of Governors.

The fee, paid by students, would be offset by a coordinating drop in tuition and would fund campus safety improvements across the UNC system — covering sexual assault prevention, counseling services and other measures, said Parker.

Many delegates opposed the fee, voicing concerns about the Board of Governors’ ability to impose a fee on students of all 17 UNC-system campuses without student consent.

“The Board of Governors is forcing our institutions to take tuition dollars and allocate it to campus safety — it is our fundamental right to have a safe environment on our campuses, and they are forcing us to pay for that,” said Russell Mau, student body president at N.C. State University.

Several delegates echoed his statements, insisting that the board forgo the fee and allow campuses to continue to implement their own campus safety programs.

Shelby Dawkins-Law, president of the UNC-CH Graduate and Professional Student Federation, brought up UNC’s student-funded SafeWalk and University Safety and Security Committee, urging delegates to promote campus safety efforts already underway.

“We really need to think about the impact this (fee) could have in following years, because the next time we go through a biennial process, who knows how many fees the BOG will give us?”

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