On April 26, Student Senate proposed a measure that would compensate the seven members of the Senate executive team with $750 per semester. On May 3, Senate voted to pass this proposal. This compensation is set to come from the student activities fund.
On Friday, May 6, Senate exec hosted an open forum at which student organization representatives expressed concern about the proposal. Zach Lough, president of Student Senate, explained that the idea for proposal came out of concerns about accountability of past Senate members. Those in favor of the proposal hope to provide an incentive for Senators to stay up to date on their work. (Wasn’t sure how to word this without just saying “do their job”)
“We [Senate exec] have to be held accountable on a more legitimate level, a legitimate structural reality,” Lough said. “We talk about how in a good world, that we wouldn’t need this, that people would just do this because they’re intrinsically motivated to do it, but the reality is that there isn’t enough intrinsic motivation to run for Senate because we see that senators aren’t running…we have to evaluate what’s effective and what other people have found effective, and so we believe that this is the first step in trying to solve the problem. And I say the first step because down the line, it could change.”
Dean of Students Casey Gill stated that student senators brought the idea to her about a year ago. She encouraged the students to do more research and Senate used the national organization, the American Student Government Association, to conduct their research. The organization found that….[need to insert numbers]
One of the concerns Lough mentioned was that past senators’ lack of accountability means that the student activity fees are not being completely utilized.
“In years to come, they’re [the student body] actually losing more of their money by us not doing our jobs than paying us to do it,” Lough said. “We’re stealing from you if we’re not doing our jobs.”
The $750 per semester for each member of Senate exec is proposed to come from the student activities fees. This $10,500 per year is three percent of the usable activities fees ($100 of each students’ $300 activity fee goes into capital funds and is not immediately usable). To receive this compensation, Senators will participate in evaluation measures, which are still to be determined.
“There’s an official midterm evaluation we want to put in place, and we want to put an official final evaluation,” said Lough. “But senators are already going to be evaluated throughout the year through the dean of students. And senators will be evaluating students as well. The idea is also that there will also be peer evaluations within exec to make sure that exec is doing their job cohesively.”
Lough insisted that this compensation of Senators would not lead to an increase in student activities fees, stating that “the chance of the activity fee being raised is slim to none.” Gill, who is also the advisor of Student Senate, also noted that the Wittenberg Student Activity allocation is higher than most other colleges that are Wittenberg’s size. Currently, the proposal is being reviewed by Wittenberg senior staff for final approval. The compensation is planned to be looked at anew each year and voted on in one-year increments. If passed by senior staff, the compensation of the Student Senate executive team will begin in the fall semester.