SGA considering salary increase for president, cabinet

SGA president and cabinet may recieve raises in their stipends next year. Collegian file photo.

JACKSON BORMAN | STAFF REPORTER | jborman@butler.edu

As an amendment to its constitution, Butler’s Student Government Association is currently considering increasing the payment for the SGA president and the president’s cabinet. A constitutional review committee has been formed and has been discussing the possible change.

Currently, the SGA president makes $1,500 per semester in the form of a stipend from the student activities fee that all full time students pay. The vice president makes $1,150, the directors get $900 and the parliamentarian gets $800.

The proposed changes would increase all of the stipends that the SGA president and SGA cabinet members. The president’s pay would double, totaling $3,000 per semester. All other cabinet members would increase to $2,000 per semester. The cabinet consists of heads of the finance, student initiatives, diversity and inclusion, service and philanthropy, programs, marketing and communications boards, and the parliamentarian of student senate.

The increased payment comes from excess SGA funds that were previously unused.

Taylor Dickerson, a first-year political science and history major and SGA senator for ResCo, is a member of SGA’s constitutional review committee. The committee is made of a group of people with diverse backgrounds and government experience, Dickerson said she volunteered to be on the committee because of her experience with constitutions in high school student government.

The committee began discussing the idea of increasing pay for top SGA positions because at some schools, the SGA president gets paid much more. Dickerson said at Purdue and Indiana University, the president receives a full tuition waiver.

Another reason for increasing pay for top positions is because the time that most SGA members devote to their office takes away a chunk of time that many could be using to work or get internships.

“It takes so much time and it isn’t a job that you can clock in normal hours for,” Dickerson said. “You may have to stay at a meeting until 2:00 a.m., you may have to send emails while in class. There are a lot of factors like that that make it challenging [to work another job simultaneously].”

Julie Vaughan, a junior health sciences major, is set to become the student leader of the Butler University Student Foundation next year. Vaughan said that in her case, she does not feel like payment is necessary.

“I don’t feel the need to be paid because it is already a great opportunity for me,” Vaughan said. “I am ready get my trips to conferences paid for, so I feel like there is already money from the university going toward my student leadership skills.”

Vaughan did not previously know SGA officers held paid positions.

“I am a junior and I am fairly involved on campus,” she said. “I think [the fact I didn’t know the SGA president was paid]shows that it is not communicated well to students.”

Dickerson said SGA hopes that increased pay will appeal to people who were deterred from running because they needed to make money might consider SGA as an option.

“It makes it more accessible to anyone who wants to run,” Dickerson said.

Pushback against the proposed changes have come from other SGA members who believe the increase is plainly too much money because other similar private universities pay their SGA members less or not at all.

Mario Giannini, first-year entrepreneurship and innovation and management information systems major, is an SGA senator for Ross Hall. He said he sees why SGA officials should be paid, but is worried about the ramifications of a higher stipend, such as uneven workloads and applicants who are not in it for their genuine interest in student government.

“Due to the level of commitment [to the job], I believe it is fair for them to earn some compensation for it,” Giannini said. “But I feel like some people might get lazier and others will have to pick up the slack which doesn’t seem fair if they are getting paid a larger sum of money. Also, if we make it too large of a sum of money [and more people start applying] it would take away the quality [of applicant].”

Dickerson said SGA is also considering more outwardly advertising the position as a paid position, in an attempt to get more people interested in SGA and make races more competitive.

“It is a lot of work you have to think about that, and you also need some experience but I think that it could open it up to people who are still thinking about it,” Dickerson said.

Josh Kanter, a junior marketing major, said he agrees SGA officers should be paid for what they do, but would like to see more money be put into the community.

“I’ve never been on SGA so I don’t know what the job entails,” Kanter said. “But I would like to see each position get half of the proposed raise — the president stipend increased from $1500 to $2250 per semester, for example — and the other half of [the raise] Butler would donate a check to [each SGA officials’] specific philanthropies they wanted to support as a way of giving back to the community.”

The last senate meeting of the year will take place tonight, and Dickerson said that the decision will likely be announced within the week.

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