Student Government voted to keep a bill that awards money to senators for working more hours than expected after Student Body President Garin Flowers vetoed it, describing it as a poor use of student money.
“This is a time to find efficient and proper uses of students’ funds,” Flowers wrote in a letter distributed to Senators before the meeting. “Throughout this year, you have asked that I scale down the operation of the Executive, which I have considered and acted.”
Senate President Nathan Davison and Senate Pro-Tempore Nicole Randazzo countered that the bill was necessary, saying they wrote the bill in hopes of having more senators attend Senate meetings.
The bill would allow senators to receive $150 if they proved they worked exceptionally hard. It outlines that senators must fill out a report of what they’ve done every month and prove they have worked at least 100 hours. Senators must submit a two-page reflection paper with each report, explaining how what they’ve done has helped the University. They must also explain why they think they deserve the incentive and be in good standing with the Senate, meaning they must regularly attend Senate meetings and contribute to discussions. Members of the Senate Executive Board – made up of the Senate president, pro tempore and committee chairs – will then determine who qualifies for the incentive. The incentive will be paid for by Activity and Service (A&S) fees, and will be divided once a semester during fall and spring, but not during the summer.
There is no cap on how many senators can receive the incentive.
Though the bill was passed, support of the bill was not unanimous. Senator Cordell Chavis was against it because he believed the student body was against it.
“This does not benefit the students. To vote for this is going against the will of the students,” he said. “Students have knocked on our door and said ‘SG, this is wrong.'”
Senator Charles Sherrard said he did not think the incentive would change anything.
“I find it fiscally irresponsible,” he said.
Those supporting the bill, including Davison, believed the money itself wouldn’t increase productivity. Rather, he thinks reports will give senators a chance to reflect on what they have done during the month.
“The form will help, not the money,” he said.
Senator Jennifer Belmont said she supports the bill if it pushes senators to work harder.
“If this gets people do it for the work that others won’t do, I am completely for it,” she said.
Some of the students observing the meeting spoke up against the incentive as well, including Marie Thomas, a senior majoring in international and Africana studies.
“You have to think about the people coming in on the incentive,” she said. “I am just telling you on the real: People think about the money.”
David Armstrong, adviser of SG, reminded the Senate that they were the only members of SG who were not paid.
Flowers disagreed with the results.
“If they decide to overturn the bill, then I respect their decision,” Flowers said. “But I don’t think it was in the best interest of the student body. It seemed very self-serving.”