SGA approves Cabinet stipend
By Caitlin Fleming
Assistant Living & Arts Editor
The Student Government Association voted to approve the Presidential Cabinet stipend at the SGA meeting on Monday.
Senior Zachary Rahn, SGA president cited several factors as proof that SGA's actions matter to the student body: coverage of the stipend issue in The Crusader, discussion among professors about it and the creation of a Facebook group in protest of it.
Four motions took place on the issue, the last of which resulted in the passing of the stipend. The first failed motion by sophomore Jesse Ramsey was to vote on the stipend by secret ballot.
Freshman Alice Fitchett moved to approve the amendment as written, meaning that the stipend would go into the constitution as a bylaw and would take effect in the fall of 2007. This motion failed.
The third motion by junior Amy Grace was to approve the amendment as a constitutional amendment, which means that it would need to be voted on by the student body in the next election. This motion also failed.
Junior Patrick Henry made the final motion to approve the amendment as written, making it a bylaw. This motion was seconded by senior Timothy Robeson and passed with a vote of 31-15.
As a bylaw, the stipend will go into effect in the fall of 2007, rewarding the five SGA Presidential Cabinet members with $300 to the Campus Bookstore per semester.
The details of the stipend, including how the members will be held accountable, have not yet been worked out.
Before the voting occurred, Rahn responded to questions of why SGA should receive a stipend while leaders of other organizations should not. He said leaders of other organizations are only responsible for their own members, while SGA is responsible for the entire student body, and the SGA executive board does more work than other campus organizations.
Fitchett said that SGA represents the entire campus and the senate would be cheating the executive board by not giving them a stipend.
Junior Sara Luley said the stipend is an insult to the people SGA serves. "It's unfair that those with more power give themselves more money," she said. Luley added that saying that the SGA executive board works harder is "belittling to the other organizations."
SGA Vice President senior Timothy Barnes said it was disheartening that students were opposed to the stipend until he realized that most students "don't have any idea of what we do, so of course they'd be against it."
Barnes said he's been an executive in every organization he's been involved with and never considered asking for a stipend for those positions.
According to the American Student Government Association, 71 percent of colleges nationwide offer some sort of compensation. At private colleges, 57.5 percent of the executive boards receive stipends. Only 30 percent of schools with about 1,000 students offer compensation to their officers.
Rahn was contacted for this article but failed to respond.