Student Government (SG) passed a bill Monday that increased the hourly pay and maximum work hours per week senators are permitted to receive. The new raises come hot on the heels of another bill SG passed in April to allow $150 bonuses to senators who prove they work “extra-hard” in their posts.
It is disappointing and frustrating that the body that is supposed to act in the interests of USF students keeps rallying around one apparently dire issue: increasing its members’ pay.
SG is supposed to be the voice of USF students. Its primary responsibility is to allocate more than $10 million – money that comes from the Activity and Service (A&S) fees included in every student’s tuition each semester – to student organizations and projects in a manner that would best align with the concerns and needs of the student body.
Given these obligations, SG should not be devising new strategies every few months to further line their pockets.
“We should be here for the students,” Sen. Charles Sherrard said in regards to the April ruling. “There’s a lot better things we can do with the money than give it to ourselves.”
In both instances, proponents of the bills attested that increasing financial incentives for SG members would increase retention and motivate them to be more actively involved. The problem is that increasing financial rewards for work does not correspond to increased quality. If there are dispassionate, ineffective or unproductive members lingering in SG, they should be impeached. Don’t wave money in their faces to try and spur them to action for the sake of USF students.
Granted, being in SG can be a thankless job. Active members must make a major commitment, devoting their time and energy to attending meetings and organizing and promoting events while trying to stay within the confines of a budget.
But the job also comes with inherent benefits. Members have a platform to express their concerns, speak on behalf of the student body and play a direct role in the decisions about how students’ money is spent.
SG members understand these pay-offs, yet some steadfastly demand that they deserve more. Perhaps if SG spent less time worrying about whipping its members into caring about their jobs with money, it would realize that by doing so, it is failing the USF student body.