ASPSU defers vote on stipends

ASPSU senators were divided Wednesday night on the issue of senator stipends, which would allow each senator to receive a monthly stipend of $200.

The proposed stipends would be paid during fall, winter and spring terms beginning next year. This payment would be in addition to $500 that each senator would receive for the purpose of promoting issues and projects they supported.

The proposed ASPSU budget for the 2003-04 budget year is $75,000, considerably less than this year’s approximately $230,000 budget. Of this year’s proposal, senator Jesse Shapiro said that with the exception of the senator stipends, it was “quite reasonable.”

Shapiro stressed he did not believe in monetary compensation for student government senators, arguing there would be no assurance the hours for which they were being paid would get done.

Senator Joseph Johnson agreed, stating, “There is no accountability.”

Other senators expressed favor toward the stipend. In response to Johnson’s comment, senator Caine Lowery said, “With money comes accountability.”

In another rebuttal to the stipend proposal, senator Nathan Sackett said, “I urge everybody to vote this down.”

A motion was made to approve the ASPSU senate budget as a package, disregarding the student senate stipends. The motion passed 13 to four, with two abstentions.

Later in the meeting, the senate listened to a presentation by women’s studies department head Johanna Bronner, graduate student Rebekah LaBar and undergraduate Holly Huillet Locke. Locke asked the senate to endorse the women’s studies project “Walk of the Heroines.”

Their proposal involves renovating the walkway near Hoffman Hall and the Recreational Center Field. The plans include a water feature, a stage and a picnic/study area. There would also be a wall and various benches put up to honor individual women.

The plans also involve adding an outdoor computer kiosk where anyone could look up any of the names in the walkway to find out a particular woman’s story. The computers would also have Internet access.

Locke stressed the need for this project, mentioning that only one building on PSU’s campus was named for a woman and only five of more than 300 city parks are named after women.

So far, the project has received a land donation from the university and a grant from the PSU building fee committee. Women’s studies is currently in the process of both public and private fund raising.

While many senators expressed interest and support for the project, no decision was reached.

Also not voted on was senator David Jiminez’s KPSU proposal. The proposal would involve creating an intercom system in the basement and on the first floor of Smith Memorial Student Union for the purpose of broadcasting PSU’s radio station.

Jiminez stressed he only wanted the senate’s support. The cost of installing the intercom is to come from KPSU’s budget. The music, Jiminez insisted, would only be in the background. He added that KPSU plays a wide variety of music styles and broadcasts various student-run talk shows.

Senator Mark Hinz and Reina Abolofia expressed strong support for the proposal. Abolofia added this would be “a really great way for students to finally hear their radio station.”

The senate next voted to suspend its rules in order to vote on the bus pass proposal presented by University Affairs director Kelvin Nicholson. The campaign would aim to keep the Tri-Met student discount on bus passes. The proposal would be directed at Tri-Met, which is planning to end its student discounted bus passes within a year. The senate voted in full support of the Tri-Met campaign.

The last motion passed in the meeting was to form a student housing committee. Currently, the university housing committee will be voting on a proposal that could raise student housing fees and evict Ondine residents this coming summer. According to senator Dimitris Desyllas, no students have been involved in the proposal.

The proposed student committee would give students a voice in their housing issues. The motion to form the student housing committee passed 11 to one, with four in abstention.