A headline buried within the pages of today’s Daily Tar Heel caught my eye, “ASG President Visits Washington, Says Little.” The first aspect of this little adventure that I’d like to visit concerns who exactly the ASG President, Atul Bhula, and his cohort were visiting. They were visiting the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee, which in addition to “work[ing] with community leaders to make sure diverse views are represented” is also responsible for “communicating and promoting Democratic policy priorities and ensuring coordination and amplification of the Democratic message.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely not comfortable with the idea that my student fees are going to fund “coordination and amplification” of partisan political messages. Looking at ASG’s mission statement, I don’t see anything in it about working to “build support for Democratic policy positions.” I’ve known for a while just how bold ASG can be in the way that it spends my money, but this little trip takes the cake. For a fun little intellectual exercise, imagine the canary that people would have if our devoted president took a trip up to the Senate Republican Conference.
And then there’s the whole issue of Bhula not actually talking to anyone. While I’m pleased as pudding that he got to meet Harry Reid, how exactly does that benefit me? I’m glad that we are blessed with such leadership that he can sit through an entire meeting, supposedly representing the students of the UNC system, and not say anything. Did he just go up there to learn talking points from Harry Reid and his cronies? What exactly was accomplished with his presence there? And why, in the name of God, do we continue to fund an organization that continually fails to live up to its promise of “championing the concerns of students” while it spends thousands of dollars on itself for lavish banquets, retreats, and road trips? Enough is enough. This little misadventure to DC is only the latest episode in what has been all too characteristic of ASG. It fails to champion the concerns of students, yet succeeds in championing the concerns of itself.