SGA approves executive pay scale for upcoming academic year

Kayla Solino | @kaylasolino, Staff Reporter

The Student Government Association Senate approved stipends for next year’s Executive Council pay scale. 

The SGA will award between $30,240 and $36,270 in stipends to 22 executive members, depending on whether the executive members work for the academic year or for the full calendar year. 

Vice President for Financial Affairs Sullivan Irvine authored the act and said it contained no changes from last year’s pay scale.

“[The pay scale] allows students the opportunity to sort of get interested in SGA, and not have to worry about the backdrop of not being financially able to,” Irvine said. “It gives students the opportunity to not have to focus on a job, but instead focus on helping out the University as a whole, and helping out the student body — which, case in point, is the purpose of being in SGA.”

The eight Executive Council members and the chief justice have two payment options: a prorated amount for working August to April or a slightly higher monthly amount for working the full school year in addition to May through August. 

The 13 cabinet members are allotted payment for working August to April. 

President-elect Madeline Martin will collect $4,200 if she works for 12 months. The six vice presidents stand to collect at most $3,000 over 12 months. The chief justice is eligible for up to $1,920 per year. 

Other annual stipends include $2,250 for the executive secretary, $1,665 for the chief of staff and $1,440 for the speaker of the Senate. A full list of stipends can be found on the Senate docket on the SGA website.  

Sen. Drew St. Charles said Irvine’s legislation lacked specific data from other SEC student government pay scales, which Irvine said the pay scale was partly developed from. 

Irvine said he should have included the information but said students interested in seeing the information he used to write his legislation can email him at [email protected]

Sen. John Dodd said the pay scale needs to be abolished or reformed to benefit low-income students interested in the SGA. 

“Either increase the pay, make it livable, or get rid of it,” Dodd said. “Because right now, it’s pocket change to these kids. And that’s all it is.” 

Dodd said the stipends are too small to replace the jobs that most working-class students need to afford attending the University. 

“Frankly, if the student government was doing what they claim to be doing, poor students would have enough financial aid that a stipend would be largely unnecessary. … Student politicians paying themselves insulates them from the harsh economic realities the rest of their classmates face,” he said. 

Irvine called statements made by the act’s detractors ludicrous. 

“Some of the things that were said were kind of ridiculous. I think the assumptions about people’s generational wealth are absurd,” Irvine said. 

SGA press secretary Olivia Davis said that stipends are necessary to ensure that all students can serve in SGA leadership roles. 

“The SGA stipend promotes equity in participation by providing compensation for the hundreds of hours SGA members put into their roles, and as we seek to provide equal accessibility to participation in the organization, the stipend is vital,” Davis said. 

A recording of the Senate session is available on the SGA’s Facebook.

Questions? Email the news desk at [email protected].