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MSU Student Gov. Reps Considering $250 Stipend for Themselves

Author: Sergei Kelley

MSU’s student government is exploring a $250 stipend for representatives to be paid at the end of each semester.

Representatives presented a report outlining the implementation of stipends on February 11 during the Finance Committee meeting of the Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU). “Paying workers have been shown to improve work ethic” and “it addresses financial barriers” of representatives, were listed as stipend reasoning.

Representatives Aaron Iturralde, Jordan Kovach, and Travis Boling of the College of Education, James Madison College, and the College of Veterinary Medicine, respectively, presented the report. Outside of a regular stipend program, the authors offered an opt-in “Leadership Development Program.” A stipend would be given upon meeting the leadership program requirements.

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Requirements in the regular stipend program include, per semester, not missing over three meetings and constituent outreach. Additionally, two of the following must be met: “take part in a piece of legislation,” be elected to a chair or vice-chair of a standing committee, become an active ad-hoc committee member, or “maintain a position as an undergraduate student representative in academic governance.”

When ASMSU general assembly meetings were in-person prior to coronavirus, hot meals were often provided. Each year a banquet is held for ASMSU representatives which costs $5,000.00. Fall retreats held for the representatives have cost between $4,000.00-$8,000.00.

In the 2020-2021 fiscal year, ASMSU allocated $3,000.00 for a “multicultural dinner” and $2,000.00 for diversity conferences and programming.

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Student government staff and the ASMSU Office of the President (OOTP) are paid positions. In total, the OOTP’s twenty-two members are paid over $6,600 biweekly, according to payroll data received from ASMSU.

“I am for this policy because it is important to reward representatives for their work,” representative Jack Harrison of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences told The Morning Watch. “I hope this does not motivate students who are not dedicated to run, but ASMSU has struggled to fill all of its GA seats and this could be a great solution.”

Funds for either the regular stipend program or the opt-in stipend via the leadership program could come from ASMSU’s gift fund, investment fund, or a hybrid of the two funds, according to the report. Representative Boling further shared that any use of the investment fund for stipends would necessitate restrictions to “cut the GA from this [fund]” to halt conflicts of interest.

Use of the gift fund could bring back the “ASMSU Alumni Outreach Director” position, to help solidify funds and relations. Presenting the hybrid plan, Representative Boling shared that the investment fund could be used primarily, and then all stipends could be taken from the gift account once larger.

Several representatives told The Morning Watch they could not comment, noting the prematureness of the policy proposal and would have more to say following a bill introduction.

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