Checking in on SGA stipends

After complaints that members of the Student Government Association (SGA) are not earning their pay, a new plan for stipend regulation may be in the works. The SGA will vote on the new stipend tracking system to regulate payment for executives and chairs on Nov. 9. “The work is getting done,” SGA President Kofi Mensah said. “Just because you don’t have as much to do some days of the week doesn’t mean you aren’t working hard on the other ones. The pay is salary based, not by the hour.” However, Speaker of the SGA Senate Claire Chevrier said that this might not always be the case. “I am in full support of chairs and executives reporting their hours,” Chevrier said. “I think that there needs to be some sort of accountability.” Other SGA members said they agree that a tracking system could help resolve some of the concerns over whether the board is actually fulfilling their responsibilities. “Exec meetings have been filled with arguments over stipends and accountability and this has created a degree of tension within the group,” SGA Treasurer Elizabeth Salsgiver said. “I believe that this tracking system would alleviate some of that tension.” In the past, some chairs have not put in an amount of work that warrants receiving their weekly stipend, Chevrier said. “They don’t deserve anyone’s money if they’re not working,” first year Ky Duong said. Salsgiver said she feels as though her work requirements are being met, but for positions that are less outlined and rigid, the tracking system is needed. “The stipends are meant to ‘even the playing field’ or make it possible for all students to hold one of these leadership roles without the financial hardship that would be brought about with not being able to have a job outside of the University,” Salsgiver said. “It is a supplement and its presence should not be what encourages chairs and exec members to work.” The accountability may lead to individual chairs’ stipends being withheld certain weeks, but overall it will encourage leaders to put forth increased effort in their work and record keeping, SGA Vice President David Maciewicz said. The SGA board is paid through the Student Activities Fee, which means they get paid every two weeks like any other university employee, Maciewicz said. “I think it needs to be more known to students that these positions are paid positions, which will hopefully lead to students paying more attention to the work that we do, as we do get paid from their student fees,” Mensah said. Each individual on the executive branch, which consists of the president, the vice president and the treasurer, is paid a weekly stipend of $200 each. The seven committee chairs and the speaker are paid $65 per week.