On Tuesday, April 26, Student Senate proposed a bill that would compensate the seven members of the Senate executive team with $750 each semester. Senate passed the proposal. The compensation will come from the student activities fund. This $10,500 a year is three percent of the usable activities fees, as $100 of each students’ $300 activity fee goes into capital funds and is not immediately usable.
When asked if senior staff would have a say in the voting process of the bill, senior Zach Lough, president of Student Senate, stated, “Senior staff was made aware of the proposal. However, senior staff does not receive a vote in matters of the Student Government, only students do. However, the senior staff would intervene if they believed that the student government was acting unethically or against university policy. In this case, the senior staff did not intervene.”
On Friday, May 6, Senate executives hosted an open forum, at which student organization representatives expressed concern about the proposal. Lough explained that the proposal came out of concerns of accountability from previous Student Senate members. According to Lough, those in favor of the proposal hope to provide an incentive for Student Senate members to do their job.
Lough was asked in what ways Student Senate was held accountable on a more legitimate level than other organizations to deserve monetary compensation, as it was argued that other student organizations put in a great amount of time and effort without fiscal incentive.
“Student Senate has two very large responsibilities on campus,” Lough said. “One, it manages the official student representation on campus. The other is the management of the overall student government’s operations. The reason for the executive officers to be paid is to make sure that the student government is operating effectively and efficiently on campus, so that it can serve the needs of the students properly. The executive officers are tasked with creating strategic initiatives on campus that benefit students, whether it be through our representation or our financial support. The work that the executive officers do is crucial to the student experience, and the work that it does must be done properly, effectively and efficiently. If the student government does not fulfill its duty, the overall student experience suffers.”
Now that the Student Senate executives get paid for their role in student government, Lough was asked what ways would these members be evaluated.
“The executive officers of Student Senate have official job responsibilities to the student government,” Lough said. “These officers will be evaluated based on their performance in fulfilling their job responsibilities. The executive officers will be evaluated by the overall student government and the Dean of Students. Moving forward, Student Senate will be looking into other areas where campus can evaluate the executive officers based on their performance in executing their job responsibilities on campus according to their position description and responsibilities.”
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.”
Dean 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. The compensation is planned to be looked at anew each year and voted on in one-year increments.
The compensation of the Student Senate executive team is effective as of this fall semester.