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Tuesday, October 03, 2023
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Student Association Senate approves wage and stipend increases for SA employees

SA officials said “reworked” office hours would cut costs but otherwise offered no way to compensate for the increase

<p>The Senate also voted to raise stipends for the SA e-board, which SA President Becky Paul-Odionhin (pictured), to $375 per week. &nbsp;</p>

The Senate also voted to raise stipends for the SA e-board, which SA President Becky Paul-Odionhin (pictured), to $375 per week.  

The UB Student Association (SA) Senate voted unanimously to raise wages and stipends for a wide range of SA employees — including the president, vice president, treasurer, council coordinators and 36 hourly positions — at its meeting on Monday. The raises go into effect on May 21.

The move, which is intended to attract student employees, will raise hourly wages from $15-15.50 to $18-18.50, an increase of about 20%. 

The Senate also voted to increase stipends for the SA e-board (president, vice president and treasurer) to $375 weekly, totaling $19,500 annually. SA e-board members currently make a flat annual stipend of $15,750

That vote comes just a week and a half after SA president Becky Paul-Odionhin and vice president Sammi Pang were re-elected to their positions for the 2023-24 academic year. 

The senate also approved stipend hikes for SA’s seven council coordinators, who will now earn weekly stipends of $180, which will add up to $9,360 annually. The student affairs director will get a weekly stipend of $216 ($11,232 for the year), and the elections and credentials chairperson will make a weekly stipend of $144 for 39 weeks, totaling $5,616. 

It remains unclear how many weeks out of the year SA employees will earn stipends. An SA spokesperson did not respond to a Spectrum request for clarification in time for publication. 

Will Eaton, the SA chief of staff, told senators the wage increases will match inflation and keep SA competitive with other employers. He said that wages last increased in 2017 and cited Aldi, Campus Living and Burger King as employers with more competitive rates than SA.

“We’ve lost our competitive edge in terms of what we pay our staff,” Eaton said. “$15 is not what it used to be.”

The SA last increased stipends for e-board members, the chief of staff, council coordinators and other top SA employees in the spring of 2019. Hourly wages for most SA employees were not increased at that vote. 

“This will help [SA employees] become better workers, but more importantly, better students,” Matthew Dowd, the hobby council coordinator, said.

Matthew Dowd is also a Spectrum staff writer.

To avoid conflicts of interest, separate votes took place for each position’s wage change.  Senators who are considering holding those positions in the next academic year stepped out of the room while voting took place.

Eaton said the cost of the raises will be offset by cuts to office hours. He said additional office hours have helped SA provide employees with more consistent schedules since the return from the COVID-19 pandemic, but that the wage increase will reduce employees’ need to work office hours.

Paul-Odionhin said SA intends to “rework” office hours, but that the SA office will remain open during the same hours each day.

SA treasurer Alana Lesczynski said the change will not affect club budgets, which have already been set for the next academic year.

Editor's note (April 28, 2023): This article was updated to include more information from the SA about stipend increases. 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that the SA Senate approved a stipend for the chairperson. That is inaccurate. That resolution was tabled. We regret this error. 

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