Vote “no” on rushed election for Student Senate stipends

The Channels Opinion Pages | EDITORIAL

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Vote “no” on rushed election for Student Senate stipends

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The Associated Student Government will host a two-day online election starting Wednesday asking all enrolled students at City College to fund their salary.

While The Channels Ed Board doesn’t oppose student senate receiving stipends on the face of it, we do feel this vote is being rushed. Students should vote “no” so that they can have more time to be informed, truly understand where their money is going, and what voting “yes” entails.

If students vote against this amendment, all changes made to the senate’s constitution will be denied until the next time a referendum is held.

According to their stipend proposal, senators would earn from $750 to $1,125 per semester. The student senate president would earn $1,500.

The senate decided among itself last semester to begin this stipend program with money from the $1 student representation fee. This is the fee that all students sign off on when they pay for classes each term. But the fee is sneaky; it’s an automatically checked box that many students or parents overlook while paying for classes. If students want to get out of paying it, they must go to a separate site and apply for an exemption.

For unsettling reasons such as this, Dr. Ben Partee, associate dean of student affairs, told the senate he would not authorize their stipends unless a 2/3 majority vote among all students agree to it.

In response, the senate has decided to add the stipends to a list of other minor changes proposed to their constitution this semester. Called Amendment A, this list of changes is what’s being put to a vote this week. Senators told The Channels that they would send out a Pipeline email Monday morning informing students about the election. As of this writing, however, the email still has not been sent out.

Senators created a website Saturday explaining Amendment A. Despite its informative content  about the voting process, the site doesn’t make up for the shortage of time students have to be informed.

On their website, they argue that it is only fair that student officers get compensated for their time and service, just like other college employees. They also say they will receive the same wage per hour as any other student employee. The Channels feels this is a contradiction, considering they argue for fairness but also voted themselves to be the only student employees on campus to receive free staff parking passes.

It’s clear that while they are attempting to be informative about the fairness in Amendment A, they are not being transparent about these parking passes.

The senate should be commended for trying to recruit more students to join their ranks by advertising the stipend across campus. However, now that the stipend must be voted on, it’s possible that the proposed salaries may not materialize.

According to their website, student officers work 2 to 8 hours per week, must have a 2.0 GPA, and be enrolled in five units. Considering this, the bar for potential new senators is not high. They could be appointed to a position while barely upholding City College’s academic good standing.

Given all this, we are concerned that too few students will know about the election to vote fairly. This increases the possibility of senator’s friends having undue influence on the outcome.

We encourage students to vote “no” on Amendment A so it can be delayed to give a wider range of students the chance to be informed.

Voting will be begin Wednesday morning, Feb. 8 through Thursday afternoon, Feb. 9.

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