Apparently students have been applying to serve on the Town of Chapel Hill's Transportation Board, but none have been appointed recently. I'm a bit surprised to see this, but it's hard to draw conclusions without knowing the details of each applicant. In the past students have contributed a lot to the T-board (and others). In fact, joining the board when I was a student in 1991 is one of the things that got me hooked on participating in local politics two decades ago!
With a seat on the board, Medlin said students would have more of a voice about routes and bus schedule times.
Dakota Williams, student body treasurer, said students should embrace the higher fees and advocate for better representation.
“If we’re paying 41 percent … there is no excuse for a student not to be on that board,” he said.
“Those decisions need to be made by the people who are paying for them, which is students more than ever,” he added.
At the beginning of each meeting, Santoro said the transportation board addresses member issues.
“They go around and say, ‘Is there anything you experienced this week using the transit system that the board needs to know?’” she said.
Since no students sit on the board, some problems go unanswered, she said.
“If they’re not taking student routes, then those issues don’t come to light,” she said. “There’s an overwhelming student presence that is not reflected in the town government at all.”
The position requires a three-year commitment to semimonthly meetings.
“Some of these issues are long-term problems that require long-term obligations,” Cho said.
Santoro said while the council might have had legitimate reasons for blocking her appointment, the lack of student representation on the board remains an issue.
“The town has repeatedly and consistently said ‘no,’” she said. “People heard about me applying and Andrew trying, and they’ve been discouraged to try to apply.”
- dailytarheel.com: Students excluded from Chapel Hill transit talks, 3/28/11
The Daily tar Heel story is a bit hyperbolic, though. Students have hardly been "excluded from transit talks" since every meeting is open to the public. What's missing in the personal story of one student's rejection is the information about who the Council did choose to appoint. I'd be pretty surprised if the town didn't proactively want to get some young peopel on all of their boards. That's always been a goal in the past (if not a top priority).