Bill proposes to pay execs

Amidst election difficulties and the nearing of a new Senate, the current Student Senate continues to conduct business as usual. At last Thursday’s meeting, it tackled its next proposal — distributing personal salaries of up to $6000 to the student body president, student body vice president, and student body vice president of finance.
The policy was proposed by Student Body President Karl Sjogren, a senior public policy major, and Student Body Vice President Andrea Hamilton, a senior social and decision sciences and art major.

The payments would be distributed in two equal installments, each at the end of a semester. This payment policy is currently against university bylaws, which state that each executive would have to become a university employee and abide by the typical weekly pay period.

“My recommendation was that if it ended up being passed was to lower the amount to $4000,” said Evan Osheroff, a sophomore business major and chair of the Academic Affairs Committee on the Student Senate. “I at least think that amount would reduce the chance of the school seeing candidates running solely for the pay.”
The student activities fee has been considered as a partial avenue to garner the necessary funds.

“I feel it is a conflict of interest for student government members, as wardens of the student activities fee, to use the student activities fee to pay members of student government,” said Kirk Higgins, the current Joint Funding Committee chair and student body vice president of finance, and senior math major. “I haven’t seen a reasonable argument that paying student government executives will improve the accountability or efficiency of student government, and I feel that it is a waste of money intended for students.”

The reasoning behind this maneuver is aimed at compensating executives for the work they do for the Carnegie Mellon community. Hamilton felt that compensation was necessary, not only to reward the executives but also to assist them if they are on financial aid or would otherwise be working in a job they cannot take on due to executive duties.

The specifics of the plan have not been formulated, Hamilton emphasized at the meeting.

“It looks like Senate is interested in taking on this issue, perhaps with some sort of executive compensation to go into effect in two years,” she said. “Legislation will not be passed this year, but a non-binding resolution of some type may pass.”

Sjogren and Hamilton also proposed budget caps for campaigning materials, which are currently not allowed by student government.

Discussion of Sjogren and Hamilton’s proposals will resume at this Thursday’s open Senate meeting.