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University pays student leaders
It’s the $10,000 question: would you run for Student Government Association executive board if you knew you would get paid? The five positions each get a $10,000 tuition stipend upon election.
This stipend is not from tuition money said Daniel Brown, assistant dean of student affairs and director for student and campus life. It comes from a small pool of funds directly from the university.
Other paid student leadership positions include media leaders, such as the editor-in-chief of The Chronicle, the editor of the yearbook, the chairman of QBSN, the general manager of Q30 and the general manager of WQAQ, who all receive a $10,000 stipend.
No other student organization leader receives any sort of compensation. “The agreement was set up for at least more than 12 years,” Brown said.
“The expectations we have of [student leaders] as a campus life office are much higher than the your run-of-the-mill student organization,” Brown said. “For example, the SGA president is elected by his or her peers and they have a responsibility to the student body. Much like the leaders of student media who have a responsibility to inform students. A smaller club is just responsible for their club, they are not required to lead or inform the student body the same way.”
All of the 10 leaders have to sign a contract outlining their expectations. They also have to hold office hours and if they have another job, such as work study, they have to get it approved by their advisor, Brown said.
“It’s not a secret,” Brown said. “There’s a lot of work that goes into these positions too so I like that we’re able to compensate them in some way.”
Brown has not spoken to anyone who ran for a position because of the stipend. However, one can’t simply just run for a position on the executive board. They have to hold a certain GPA and be on SGA for at least one full year, Brown said.
Once tuition is paid, it becomes the university’s money. Some find it hard to believe that no money from the tuition fee goes towards the leaders’ stipends.
“Our money is the school’s money; it’s hard to believe that even a little bit of our tuition doesn’t go towards this,” sophomore Samantha Pedraza said.
The leaders of SGA spend their time working with the university but some students do not feel like they should get paid for it. Some believe they should volunteer to represent the school. Others think they should get paid something.
Pedraza and freshman Matt Schneider, both said they don’t know what SGA has done for the school to deserve the $10,000.
“I never heard of anything substantial that they have done, nor do I know any of their names,” Pedraza said.
Some students, like sophomore Francesca Bolton, wonder if they deserve the stipend that they are given.
“I think the people we vote into those positions — it’s kind of more of a popularity contest than anything else,” Bolton said. “They ask us our opinion on stuff but they don’t really get much done.”
However, if it was advertized that student leaders received a stipend after being elected into office, some students, like sophomore Charlie Scheid, would consider running for a position on the executive board.
“I had no idea they got paid; sign me up,” Scheid said.