An Associated Students, Inc. proposal that would have compensated the organization’s senators with monthly attendance stipends failed to pass during Wednesday’s senate meeting.
The proposal, which senators opted against in a 10-4 vote, aimed to pay the positions, starting in the fall, a maximum of $80 per month for completing eight hours of service, including attending meetings and holding office hours. The funding to pay senators would have come out of ASI’s budget.
The proposal was touted by Abigail Hudson, executive vice president and incoming ASI president, who said the stipends would’ve been “a way to keep senators accountable.”
The stipends were meant to incentivize senators — who, once voted into office, can only be ousted through a student body vote — to work more diligently, Hudson said.
The current bylaws have put the student government in uncomfortable predicaments with senators in the past. Though not the case now, Hudson said, previous ASI leaders have had trouble holding accountable senators who weren’t performing all of their job responsibilities.
Senator positions are unpaid and considered volunteer positions though students who serve in the senate receive priority registration and free student parking permits.
Senators spoke at length during Wednesday’s meeting, weighing the pros and cons before ultimately deciding against the proposal.
Tyler Wilson, senator for the College of Science and Math, said, “Paying an ASI senator will increase that disconnect between ASI and students.”
“We’re all students here volunteering to help students,” Wilson said. “We’re not here to be on a separate level from students.The second you are paid, you are no longer a volunteer, and your motives are questioned a little more.”
The ASI Senate passed a referendum in 2009 that gave senators the ability to vote on whether they should be compensated, but a vote on the matter hadn’t been made until now. Because of that referendum, the issue can still be revisited despite Wednesday’s vote.
Student senate positions vary through the CSU campuses. All of the student government positions at some schools, such as CSU Fullerton, are paid.
“I have been giving up hours at work to do work that I’m not getting compensated for,” said Ezra Rodriguez, senator for the Lyles College of Engineering. “I’m blessed to be able to do that, but there are people that can’t do that.”
“The biggest thing is accountability and providing for somewhat of an opportunity for students who might not be able to be in ASI without that kind of small check at the end of the month,” Hudson said.