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Senate raises stipends for members

December 7, 2006

For the 2007-08 academic year, Student Senate president, vice president and chair positions will receive a $50 stipend increase, which hasn’t occurred for six years.

The change in pay was addressed by Jim Vierling, facilities and fees board chair, who introduced the motion Nov. 30 to the Finance Committee.

The reason for the proposed increase was “two fold,” Vierling said.

“The first is to increase the pay due to the change in times,” he said. “Directors, presidents, vice presidents and board chairs have increased duties over the past years, resulting in more time spent with their duties here and less time being able to work at their jobs.”

With the raise in Senate wages, student segregated fees will not be increased for 2007-08, Vierling said. Senate stipends are paid through the Shared Governance account, which is funded through student fees.

The only change will be seen by Senate in its account, said Finance Director Adam Koski.

The Senate president is now paid $225 a month, and the vice president, directors and chairs are each paid $150. Every position, excluding director positions, will receive a $50 increase; the director positions will receive a $25 raise.

Originally, the motion was to implement the increase during the second semester of the 2007-08 academic year, but President Joe Eggers said the amount of experience should not change whether or not a student is paid more the second half of the year rather than the first.

“We need to hold them up to the same standard all the time,” he said.

Vierling said the intention of the $50 difference for the second semester was to allow senators to learn in their roles as leaders and to properly do their work.

As a first-year director, Senator Derek Brandt said he believes the workload is more than an at-large senator, who doesn’t chair or direct a committee.

“You do learn more rapidly and there is a lot more work to do as a director or chair,” he said.

Senators who work as chairs and directors go beyond the minimum 10 hours assigned for the position, and the work obligates them to go outside the requirements, said Natalie Hagberg, Leadership Development and Programming Board (LDPB) chair.

“I am working more and harder the first semester because I am learning,” Hagberg said.

Senator Jason Meier said he was the dissenting voice during the discussion and recommendation process for the motion during the Finance Committee’s meeting.

“It is a volunteer position,” he said. “It’s nice we do get compensated, but it’s volunteer work; we shouldn’t get paid.”

The amount of time an executive committee member works on their responsibilities and tasks hinders their ability to get another job or to make some kind of living, he said.

“Because they are among the leaders on campus, I think they deserve to be compensated for more than what they are,” Eggers said.

Vierling said the increases should not be used to replace a job, but to alleviate some stress accompanied by the responsibilities and roles of the position. He also had in mind that the change will permit directors and chairs to focus on campus issues.

“The increase is nothing huge,” he said. “It just allows them that time for a Friday night off or to attend a campus event.”

Other Senate news

  • LDPB approved the UWRF Affirmation to the Free Expression and Rights of Student Organizations, which will be forwarded to Chancellor Don Betz for review. The affirmation follows a ruling in Hosty vs. Carter, where administration at Governor’s State University in Illinois “halted publication of their student newspaper,” according to the Associated Collegiate Press Web site. The Affirmation of Free Expression Rights of Student Organizations states, “The students and administration of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls affirm the free expression rights of recognized student organizations.” “This allows student organizations the free voice they deserve,” Hagberg said. “It helps student orgs to protect their rights when they are questioned about something they say.”
  • Members of Senate will be in the Student Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12. They will be located at a table designated for students to ask questions and raise concerns.
  • An informational session about class period changes will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8 in the President’s Room of the Student Center, regarding issues, suggestions and information about decreasing Monday, Wednesday and Friday classes by five minutes.

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