The Associated Students Internal Affairs Committee is considering a resolution that would raise the stipend that senators and chairpersons receive for their duties by $50.
The Central American United Student Association also requested $1,000, which was reduced to $700 because $300 that had previously been given was not accounted for due to a clerical error.
While some members were upset at this resolution, those who supported it said it isn’t about the raise, but accountability. Last year’s election packet and ads in the Daily Sundial stated that senators and committee chairs would be paid $100 to $200.
‘Documents indicated the pay would be higher than what it is now so it’s an issue of accountability,’ said John Neilan, senator and committee chair of internal affairs. ‘This is not a money grab or a power grab.’
During the open forum of the meeting Director of Visibility Aron Schlabra, spoke on behalf of other members of A.S. and described the resolution as ‘dumb.’
‘You can’t vote to give yourself money especially with student’s money,’ said Schlabra. ‘We are not being good advocates for students if we’re trying to raise our own pay.’
There’s no accountability for senators, he said, because the only way they can be removed from their position is if they’re absent and work ethic is not a factor.
‘Senators should be an advocate for students’ money and not advocate for themselves,’ Schlabra said.
This year’s budget for A.S. allocated $40,000 for senate compensation. The Internal Affairs Committee found that $36,000 currently remains in the fund. Under the proposed resolution a senator can receive $180 because they can also be committee chairs. The A.S. personnel board, of which President Miguel Segura is chairman, voted to decrease the stipend for officers about two months ago.
Senator Jeesper Maquin wouldn’t call it a raise, and said the resolution would reset it back to the original amount. It’s all about accountability, he said.
‘Let’s say you applied for a job at a supermarket and they said you were going to be paid $8 an hour and when you get a job your supervisor says your getting $6 instead,’ said Maquin.
‘It was slightly taken out of content because they thought the resolution was to increase our pay, (internal affairs) intended it to be a response towards the filing packet,’ said Maquin. ‘People should get the benefits they expect.’
While pay shouldn’t make or break the decision for taking a position in A.S., junior communication’s major, Tamar Artin, can understand why senators want to increase their current stipend.
‘If that’s what was promised when they ran then they deserve that because it was a factor they took into consideration when running,’ Artin said. ‘At the same time, money shouldn’t be the reason they’re doing the job.’
The topic came up several times during Tuesday’s meeting, too much for A.S. President Miguel Segura.
‘We have bigger state, national and student issues to deal with instead of our student stipend,’ Segura said. ‘You’re a public servant you shouldn’t even care about how much you get paid.’
The resolution will come up for a vote in next week’s meeting.
‘We have to determine whether the body stands by what it says,’ said Neilan. ‘We just can’t go nilly willy and not follow the rules.’