Creating stipends for the student senate is irresponsible

Once again student government is trying, but failing, to function.

    As of last week, only 17 of the 25 seats in the student senate were filled. Over the past four months, the student senate has had enough members present to hold its bi-monthly meetings just six times. Three of those six meetings happened during the last month, as the senate struggled to appoint members so they could actually make quorum and finally start the year.

    Still, they couldn’t appoint senators without help. They made quorum only after the Judicial Board members – who have had trouble meeting quorum themselves – changed the number of senators needed to have a proper session.

    Even the executive staff hasn’t been able to keep a full staff, filling the vacant communications director and webmaster positions last week, among others.

    The executive staff’s answer to ASPSU’s failure to function? Pay senators to show up.

    A proposal is in the works to give senators a stipend of $100 per month – an idea that’s careless at best. It’s a short-term solution that will in no way address the larger problem.

    Vice President Jesse Bufton said senators often become discouraged because the people they ran with and policies they ran for in the spring did not follow them into office. He said some senators are merely not showing up to meetings – and some are not doing their work, which affects everyone else.

The current executive staff needs to commit to finding ways to keep senators interested in performing their duties without bribing them. Senators should run for office to serve student interests, not to line their pockets.

    Candidates for elected office should not run for office because they want to win alongside their friends, but so that they can serve with individuals who share a commitment to PSU and its students.

    Broken down, $100 per month may not seem like much. But added up for 12 months among 25 senators, it would take another $30,000 out of an already bursting student fee budget.

    Putting additional strain on an already stretched student fee budget is irresponsible and nonsensical. In this case, a stipend rewards bad behavior – if senators were already being paid, would it make sense to give them raises for not showing up to work?

    This is not to say that being a member of student government isn’t a serious and commendable time commitment in any capacity. It is. However, senators are elected to serve students, and they know going into the job that they are donating their time with the incentive being that they are doing their community a service, not earning extra beer money.

    The student fee was raised by $30 per term last year – after such a drastic hike, giving the student senators money just doesn’t make sense.

    Students want an affordable education. Contributing even a little to an already skyrocketing student fee will do little but prove that the executive staff isn’t listening to the wants and needs of the students they represent.

    The executive staff must realize that you cannot pay student senators to care about their university or the students they are supposed to be representing. ASPSU President Courtney Morse should make a concentrated and rigorous effort to find students who are willing to make a commitment. In the end, $100 a month shouldn’t be their motivation.