Last Wednesday, April 10, the Polity Senate eliminated stipends for all Politypositions, effective next term. The passionate debate on this issue encompassedmuch of the weekly meeting.
‘By eliminating the stipend for student leaders, we will end up with amore diverse group, better quality student leaders who want to do the job forthe sake of the job,’ Senator Godfrey Palia said.
Under scrutiny was the more than $40,000 paid to those holding Polity ExecutiveBoard and Council positions, like Polity President and Secretary. For a commitmentof 15 hours per week, students occupying these offices have been receiving upto $3200 over the academic year. There is no policy that prevents students fromoccupying both stipend positions and other hourly wage jobs on campus.
Senators testified that there has been a history of corruption. President AkeliaLawrence verified that the system has been abused, but encouraged Senators toproceed cautiously.
‘I’#146;m not for or against [the elimination of stipends]. I believeit should be seriously evaluated, but I remind you that you never know whatit’#146;s like to be in a position until you’#146;ve actually been in it,’said Lawrence.
One issue raised during the debate was the question of why executive positionsreceive stipends, while senators who dedicate equal time and effort to the organizationreceive nothing.
‘[Council members] get a lot of perks: Free concert tickets and free entranceto events. So don’#146;t cry to me, get rid of stipends once and for all!’said Senator Robert Anders.
In lieu of stipends, the Senate discussed the possibility of internship andacademic credit. Several senators said that they had been investigating theissue for over a year, and felt that both were viable options.
After passing the motion to eliminate all stipends by a vote of 17-4-3, SenatorMike Bernardin encouraged those present to seek out the facts and become wellinformed. Both Bernardin and Palia believed that it was likely that Polity Councilwould veto the Senate’#146;s actions and that further response would be necessary.
In other business, the senate moved to continue funding for the Roth Pond Regattaand received important news on the status of the budget.
In other business, the Senate moved to continue funding for the Roth Pond Regatta.Senator Robert Anders testified in favor of the Regatta, which is held annuallyin Roth Quad. The event coordinators missed the deadline to renew placementon the referendum, where student fees are allocated. The Regatta usually receives50 cents per semester from every Stony Brook student.
Anders stressed the importance of the Regatta to the campus community and askedthat the deadline be extended, and the Senate unanimously approved the request.
The Polity Senate then discussed and approved the bylaws for the upcoming elections,which will take place next week. One change included a requirement that allelection board members be in attendance at meetings with administrators. Accordingto Senator Bernardin, this will prevent the voicing of ‘one-sided views’that, he asserted, have been a problem in the past.
In addition, the fall election will be moved to no later than the second weekof October. With this change, the freshman representative will miss less ofthe semester.
Frank Sallustio, Financial Manager, issued memos over the past week highlightingthe status of the Polity budget. After review, the University administrationhas announced that $44,000 will be made available to student organizations.Clubs can submit requests to Polity Senate for these funds. Sallstio also reportedthat by closing the print shop, the government has avoided future additionalexpenditures of $32,500. In addition, Polity is now $5,000 under budget forthe upcoming semester.