SA reduces pay of its executive board
Senate approves 2014-15 budget
Former running back Branden Oliver became the Bulls’ all-time leading rusher this past season with his single-single season record 1,535 rushing yards. Chad Cooper, The Spectrum
The Student Association has cut the stipends of its president, vice president and treasurer by $2,000 each - putting $6,000 total back into SA's roughly $3.6 million budget.
On Sunday evening, the SA Senate passed the 2014-15 undergraduate SA budget with eight senators approving and three abstaining. The budget includes a breakdown of allocations of funds to clubs, office expenses, entertainment and student stipends - highlighted by a decrease in pay for the three executive board members from $12,000 per person to $10,000.
The total budget for next year is $3,625,002.25 - with the bulk of the money ($3,293,402.25) coming from the $94.75 mandatory student activity fee each semester, and the rest from ticket sales for SA events ($50,000), Winter and Spring Gala ($26,600), interest revenue ($5,000) and rollover funds ($250,000).
Alana Barricks' initial reason to run for Senate was to speak out about the $36,000 that went to the stipend of the president, vice president and treasurer.
"Many officers in the past have said that they would reduce their stipend but none of them have followed through on that or even addressed the issue with the finance committee," Barricks said in an email. "I'm glad that we were able to reduce the total of top three stipends to $30,000, $10,000 each, and although I still think that's too much at least we're headed in the right direction."
Aaron Hosang, a sophomore philosophy major, believes it depends on where the decreased money from the stipend is going - if it is going toward club spending, he said, it is a good thing.
Adrienne West, a senior biology major, is part of the Combined Martial Arts Club. She sees the club having financial issues, so an extra $6,000 going toward clubs is beneficial to her.
"I think a lot of students would want that money, so I find it very odd but it's just very generous of them to do that," West said.
The new budget included the addition of a fundraising director, who will receive a stipend between $2,550 and $2,750.
SA Assembly Speaker Melissa Kathan thinks the position is a great idea because "clubs can always use more help in raising money."
Barricks believes the effect of the position will depend on the person who receives it.
"My hope is that clubs, the heart and soul of SA, will now have more resources available to them, which is why I fought to keep the club services department," Barricks said.
An addendum was also made to the budget after a few issues arose during discussion. The Senate added an Assembly Line of $250 for the Assembly. Kathan said she wants the Assembly to have funds to hold its own events. The Senate took the money from the Innovating Programming line, reducing it from $4,000 to $3,750.
Daniel Giles, the Senate chair, was pleased with the amount of discussion the Senate had on the budget.
"Passing a $3.5 million budget is serious business, and those present did an excellent job of reviewing the budget and pointing out any problems or suggestions they had," Giles said in an email. "The changes that were made to the budget the finance committee originally presented us with were either excellent suggestions to help things run more smoothly or minor error corrections."
SA President-elect James Ingram worked to reduce the student stipends, a promise he made during his campaign.
"We decided to decrease the executive board stipend because we felt that the money could better serve a large amount of students by being reallocated throughout the budget instead of only benefitting the three members of the executive board," Ingram said.
As part of another campaign promise, Ingram is planning to hold informational sessions for the fall semester staff position openings. Jobs include club services director, bookkeepers, entertainment staff, receptionists and others. Ingram said the sessions serve as a way for students to learn about the opportunities available next year in SA.
Ingram hopes the sessions will help candidates get a better sense of job openings and create a more welcoming atmosphere for those outside of SA. By reaching out with the sessions, he wants to make it easier for students to become involved and feel comfortable - attracting all students interested and qualified.
"In the past, by having students come to us for the jobs and everything, we miss out on some great people," he said.
It is Ingram's hope the sessions will answer any questions potential candidates have. The first informational session is Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Theater.
Applications for director and chief of staff positions are due Wednesday, April 16, and interviews for those positions are scheduled between April 21 and 24.
Madelaine Britt contributed reporting to this story.
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