Press Clippings & Releases

Press Clipping: Associated Students of Madison stipends scrutinized

Stipends Scrutinized

November 13, 1997
By Alyssa Berman

When representatives from the Associated Students of Madison voted to increase their stipends under the group's proposed 1998 budget, controversy arose across campus.

A recent article published by Student Leader magazine, however, demonstrates that this is not only a UW-Madison phenomenon.

The article included a survey of student government compensation at 150 schools from around the nation. It found that 88 percent of public universities compensate student government officers.

Under next year's proposed budget, ASM chair, co-chair, and committee heads would receive $3,175 stipends, equivalent to a tuition waiver. Current officers would not be eligible for the increased pay.

ASM Student Services Finance Committee member Laura McKnight believes that any compensation is unwarranted.

"I don't know what happened to volunteerism because I'm not finding it here," McKnight said.

Doreen Floyd, assistant director of leadership at University of Massachusetts agrees.

"How do you support student government stipends, but not stipends for other organizations where students put in as much, if not more time?" Floyd asked.

However, other ASM members have voiced arguments in favor of increased stipends. They say student government participants commit large amounts of time, and with stipends, financially disadvantaged students will have increased access to student government.

"Some governments pay a lot more," SSFC chair Vance Gathing said. "What we're doing here is a pretty fair compromise."

The only UW system school that replied to the survey was UW-LaCrosse. The student government president at this school receives $4,030.

Other schools compensate without using any student tuition money.

"Student Government raises its own funds by selling credit cards," said Indiana University's student government vice president Steve Chiagouris.

Gathing, a vocal supporter of the ASM stipend increase, believes the national findings help to validate his position.

"This shows that the conservatives have done a good job of focusing on certain items [in the new budget]," Gathing said. "This is really an access issue."