The Appalachian State University Student Government Association voted down a resolution in support of the $2 billion Connect NC bond at their meeting Tuesday evening – after tabling a resolution in support of the bond earlier this month.The action might seem surprising because the bond, if passed, among other projects would provide $70 million to the university to build a new Health Sciences building.
The change came after Nicole Revels, who is spearheading the group Against the Bond, spoke at the SGA meeting.
Revels said that she decided to go speak there after hearing that university Chancellor Sheri Everts had sent out an email to the student body in support of the bond.
After she spoke at the meeting, the student leaders decided to hold off on the resolution until they could further explore the topic.
“They had the resolution in the agenda and allowed me to speak for 10 minutes from the opposition side,” Revels said. “The body decided to shelve the resolution and no more research.”
SGA members had concerns about how their vote might be perceived politically, she said. “One of the main issues was how their statement on the bond would be used:
The group spent two weeks reviewing the proposed bond package before readdressing the issue Tuesday night.
Revels said that state Reps. Jonathan Jordan (R-Watauga) and Dean Arp (R-Union) came to speak at the meeting in support of the bond, but the group still voted down the resolution.
Nick Williams, an SGA senator, said the body is interested in “strong inquiry” when voting on important topics and that he is proud of the “lively debate” in the student government surrounding the bond.
“I think the debate provoked many important questions that needed to be answered,” Williams said. “The Appalachian State Student Government decided to approach the question of support for the bond on an individual basis rather than an overall organizational endorsement. This was an important vote that will prompt more transparency and dialogue for future matters.”
The bond was originally billed as a transportation bond but the final product does not include any transportation projects.
Instead, 49 percent of the funds will go to the University of North Carolina system, while 17 percent will go to the state’s community college system.
The other largest chunk of the bond, at 16 percent, is directed to grants for local parks and water/sewer bonds.