Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Monday, May 27, 2019

SG lowers executive, cabinet pay

During a special session of the Undergraduate Senate April 15, the Senate passed a bill to decrease the stipends of Student Government executives and their cabinet directors.

The bill passed with 13 yeas, three nays and one abstention.

Peter Wahlberg, senator for the College of Arts and Sciences and sponsor of the bill, said the bill's purpose is to "rationalize, standardize and simplify the bylaws of the SG."

The bill adds another $1,600 to the general budget while decreasing stipends for the executives, which are the SG president, vice president, secretary and comptroller.

The bill puts all of the executives and directors in a pay grade system, similar to that in use by the federal government. The elected executives, such as the president, are placed under Grade A; appointed executives, such as the Kennedy Political Union director, are considered Grade B; appointed academic-year-only executives, which include the director of information technology and the director of the American University Transportation Organization, are Grade C; and essentially all other SG executives are considered Grade D because they receive a "special discretionary stipend."

Effective for the 2007-2008 school year, the executives will be paid $3,500 for their minimum of 18 required hours of work per week for the academic year. The summer allocation will be $5,000 for a minimum of 20 required hours of work per week. The new summer allocation will not be in effect until the summer of 2008.

All Grade B staff will receive an academic-year stipend of $2,500 and $3,500 for the summer with a minimum of 15 required hours of work per week. Grade C directors will receive $2,500 for the academic year with a minimum of 15 required hours of work per week.

All Class D funds are to be confirmed by the Senate.

The executives previously received a $10,000 stipend for the year, and the appointed directors' stipends varied.

The executives at the meeting voiced the most objection to the bill. Carrie Johnson, current SG secretary and a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs, said she felt the "goal of the SG needs to diversify itself." She also said the SG does not represent the diversity of the campus at large and the bill would further deter students from running for a position because of exclusion on a "socio-economic basis."

Johnson and other executives said the bill would discourage students because of the amount of work the executives must do. This often leaves them with the in ability to have another job, forcing them to live off of their SG stipend, she said.

To this point, many senators said that they are all unpaid. Class of 2009 Senator Jillian Rubino, a sophomore in SPA and CAS, said, "Every dollar that we take from stipends adds to programming."

Ultimately, the lines of debate were drawn over what would be more suitable for the SG: happy, effective executives or a few thousand dollars more to add to programming.

The Undergraduate Senate will next meet in another special session to consider the 2007-2008 budget on Wednesday, April 18, at 10:45 p.m in Kogod 118.

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