A motion to amend Student Government Inc.’s bylaws to allow the payment of stipends to executive board members passed Monday in a vote by the SGI general assembly.
The motion, introduced in an SGI meeting on Jan. 29, changes the SGI constitution to say that all executive board members will receive stipends of an amount to be decided in an annual meeting with the executive board as well as Student Government moderators Associate Dean of Students Darren Morton, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Jose Rodriguez and Vice President of Student Affairs the Rev. James Maher, C.M.Because it would change the SGI constitution, the motion could not be voted on until two weeks passed after its introduction.
SGI treasurer Lawrence King said that the vote passed without much resistance.”The floor was pretty receptive to the proposal,” he said, adding that, “I think anything that changes the constitution is not going to come without some opposition.”
King also said that he believes that that opposition serves a purpose in the process of passing bylaw changes like these.
“It’s important to see both viewpoints,” he said.
The decision to create the stipends was based largely on a desire to attract higher quality candidates for executive board positions, as well as to make the holders of those offices more accountable, King said, adding that most major colleges in the country have some type of financial incentive for the members of their student government groups.
“Darren provided us with a list of schools that we could base ourselves off of,” King said, citing DePaul University, Georgetown University and Boston College as some of the institutions that were looked at.
King said the accountability comes from a stipulation in the new bylaw that says the stipends could be reduced, suspended or eliminated if a board member fails to fulfill his or her obligations, whereas before the stipends it was more difficult to provide repercussions to those who did not carry out their duties.
Ultimately, King hopes that the stipends will increase both the number of candidates for positions within SGI and the quality of the applicants.
“I think it will attract people who might not otherwise think about it because of their jobs or other obligations,” he said. “With elections in place, we felt it was important to have this in place.”