Originally Published February 1, 2007
With Associated Students elections coming up soon, possibly as early as the end of March, some students are probably thinking about filing the paperwork to run for office. There are many offices to run for, from senator to director of finance, but the office I would recommend running for most is that of president. It sounds like a pretty cushy job.
But why try and shoot immediately to the top? Because of the perks, of course! According to A.S. General Manager David Crandall, the current president of A.S., Adam Salgado, has received a stipend of about $960 per month since taking office. According to calculations by the Sundial staff, this will come out to a little more than $11,500 when he finishes his term of one year. The newly elected A.S. president will actually receive slightly more due to the yearly raise based on the increase in the cost of living. This stipend is in addition to the other benefits of office, including paid tuition (a value of about $3,000), a faculty parking pass and priority registration.
Vice president isn’t such a bad job either. For performing the duties of that office current Vice President Sarah Jackson has received about $710 per month since taking office. That comes out to about $8,500 for her term of one year, in addition to the perks offered to the president.
The most intruiguing part of the presidential compensation package isn’t the stipend, but the extra perks. Paid tuition is extraordinary, but the truly invaluable things are a faculty parking pass at a commuter campus and priority registration at a university where it isn’t uncommon for students to try, and fail, to get into classes for more than a year. And why the cost of living increases? Surely the president doesn’t live off of his A.S. pay.
Still, $11,500 is a lot of money for a seat in the student government. This degree of compensation is especially glaring in the face of recent events. As representatives of the students, members of A.S. are obviously fighting against the fee increases we are facing, but here at home, when it involves the A.S. itself, there’s a different story to be told. We constantly hear about how under funded A.S. is, from cuts in program budgets to mid-meeting arguments over $50. Throw into the mix an unsuccessful attempt to raise fees last semester, and one may wonder why the president and vice president get such a large stipend.
The pay isn’t totally undeserved, however. Salgado said that he works 40 hours a week, and with that many hours his stipend works out to a little more than $6 an hour. However, there are plenty of other students who do work within the university, some for far more than 40 hours a week, who get paid far less.
A.S. senators get paid very little for their services. While they are only required to be in their office for three hours a week, their stipend can be as little as $70, which they receive at the end of the semester. While there must be a pretty big difference in work required, if the president can get more than $900 a month, surely A.S. could afford to give their senators more than the pittance they currently get. Why don’t they get cost of living raises?
While I appreciate those who sacrifice their time and energy on my behalf, it makes me wonder who decided that it would be in the best interest of the students if the upper echelon of the student government received such large stipends when the rest of the system is still struggling.