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On Sunday night, February 26, the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College Executive Board rejected all but three stipend adjustments for ASCMC officials.

In a vote last week, the ASCMC Senate approved a number of stipend changes for most members of the Executive Board. The proposal then went before the Executive Board for a vote yesterday evening.

The ASCMC Executive Board

The Executive Board only voted on and approved three stipend adjustments from the Senate proposal. The proposal to increase the Social Activities Chair (SAC) yearly stipend by $500 passed with Clare Riva ’13 and Connor Barclay ’13 voting against it. Riva and Barclay were also the only two voting members to reject the second proposal: a retroactive increase of $600 for the Forum Editor-in-Chief yearly stipend. All voting members voted in favor of a $100 decrease in the yearly stipend of the Student Security Officer beginning next term.

All constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority from the Executive Board for passage. Voting members on the Executive Board include the ASCMC President Jessica Mao, Vice President Aditya Pai, the Chief Financial Officer Lacey McLean, Campus Organizations Chair Ed La Cava, Executive Secretary Stephanie Haft, SAC Will Brown, Dorm Affairs Chair Clare Riva, Student Life Council Chair Alexandra Cooke, Freshman Class President Demetrius Lalanne, Sophomore Class President Gavin Landgraf, Junior Class President Connor Barclay, and Senior Class President Mary Doyle.

Nine members voted in the proceedings tonight. Lacey McLean ’12 and Gavin Landgraf ’14–both voting members of the Executive Board–were not present at the vote.

Referring to the three non-ASCMC students in attendance at last night’s stipend vote, President Mao said, “I really appreciated having students come to the meeting.” She added that she also valued having students email her their concerns and voicing them at ‘Mao Pow Wow,’ a weekly open forum hosted by Mao. “I think the officers gave considerable thought to the students’ input,” noted Mao.

Mao hopes the discussion will continue and address in further detail the ASCMC President’s $14,000 yearly stipend, which covers room and board at the college. She continued saying, “The big-picture conclusion that came out of the discussion tonight is that our stipends run on a broken system that needs to be reformed. It can’t be rushed, but it has to be done.”

All three proposals were part of the earlier group of stipend adjustments. Due to procedural ambiguity, Senate must reconsider the stipends tomorrow, Monday, February 27 before they take effect. Last Monday, February 20, Senate voted to amend the constitution to accept all proposed stipend changes with only one dorm–Claremont Hall–abstaining. It is unclear to ASCMC officials whether Senate adopted the stipends as one package or if it approved the stipends as individual proposals but used a procedural maneuver to vote on each individual package in one vote.

If Senate adopted the stipends as one package, Senate must treat the action by the Executive Board as a new proposal and vote again on the three stipend increases. To approve the proposal, two-thirds of all dorms, regardless of the number of senators voting must vote in favor of the motion. If approved by Senate, the changes will be implemented immediately and require no further voting on the part of Executive Board members.

If the Senate intended to pass the measure as individual pieces but voted once for the sake of ease and time, then the proposals would take effect immediately.

Update on February 27 at 10:57pm: Senate clarified the procedural ambiguity stating it voted in favor of all of the stipends individually. The three stipend proposals passed by the Executive Board are now in the ASCMC Constitution.

13 COMMENTS

    • Also, why make his raise retroactive? Why not make it apply to next year’s editor instead like the SAC raise?

  1. Heath has done such a poor job doing actual journalism covering the SAT scandal that he ought to be forced to pay his stipend back. 

    • Don’t be mean to Heath. It’s not his fault ASCMC hired someone as Forum editor who has no journalism experience.

      • You are all incredibly rude and ungrateful. Heath has driven the Forum to put out 4 times as much content than Wilner and Peaslee did last year. That’s 8 times as many hours considering he is just one person. The fact that he didn’t have any journalism experience makes this even more impressive. 

        In terms of the SAT Coverage, I completely disagree. There were numerous articles put out reporting it and numerous op-ed pieces about it. If you’re another Port Side-fan+Forum-hater, then stop giving the Forum page hits! Grow up and stop whining because I’d really like to see you try running the Forum as well as he did while knowing $200 was all he was going to get. 

        • A low stipend shouldn’t be an incentive for doing a worse job, and a higher stipend shouldn’t be a reason for someone to do a better job. The Forum editor should do a good job because that’s what he signed up to do.

        • I agree with everything you said, and Heath has done a good job regardless of what the stipend is. He had no vote or say in his own raise, so it just bothers me that people attack him for something he didn’t do.  

          I think the stipend increase isn’t to motivate people to do a better job. It is a raise to make it accurately compensated relative to other officer positions. This raise for the Forum Editor should’ve happened last year, so this is making that right again. 

        • Why should the Forum editor get paid? If he is doing such a good job, maybe the Forum should incorporate as a 501 c 3 and then you can donate to produce this poor journalism.

        • I see some serious problems with a student government paying the editor of the school newspaper a salary. This makes it very difficult to not be biased in covering anything ASCMC does. I think the Forum should be independent from ASCMC. Never gonna happen, but that would make it a lot more like real journalism and a lot less of a mouthpiece publication.

  2. If the Forum editor compensation is so controversial because it creates a conflict of interest when reporting on ASCMC maybe students should work harder to endow the forum.  Endowment = independent source of money = no conflict of interest.

    Also, I think Heath is probably underpaid, if anything.

    • I don’t think the Forum needs to be wholly independent from ASCMC to critically report on it. If that were true, any publication that receives any ASCMC funding would have the same “conflict of interest.” Granted, that’s why the Claremont Independent, for example, chooses not to receive ASCMC funding. But as a counterexample, the Port Side does get ASCMC funding yet has criticized the body a number of times.

      Also I’m not sure how much ad revenue the Forum generates, but maybe the editor(s) compensation could be drawn from that.

  3. First note:
    Heath had no say in the vote to increase Forum Editor salary retroactively. He
    is a non-voting member of the board (as am I) and in fact never spoke on the
    issue once while it was being discussed.

    The raise in
    Forum Editor salary was done to bring it into parity with positions which
    require similar time commitments, hold similar responsibility, and manage a similar
    budget. Further, the Forum Editor also runs a break-even venture and produces
    easily the greatest quantifiable output of any position within ASCMC.

    The reason
    the raise was granted retroactively was because the move would have been made
    last year but was forgotten. Also, it was decided at the very beginning of this
    semester the board would seek a retroactive increase.

    If this
    development bothers you, I would recommend attending Senate. It is incredibly
    easy to become a Senator (it simply requires attendance). Senate not only
    deliberated this issue for over an hour as a entire body, but Senators also
    served on the Budget Committee which spent a great deal of time thinking about
    this specific issue.

    Lastly, I
    can assure you Heath is substantially underpaid. Running the Forum takes up
    more time than any on-campus job or other club; he manages a team of over 40
    writers and is constantly in the public eye. I’m no journalist so I can’t
    comment on his qualifications as a writer, but as a manager and leader he has
    done a tremendous job and earned the respect of the entire board.

    .

    • I have to agree. I think the bigger problem is not the Forum editor making $800. It is the ASCMC president making $14,000. Why is that not being questioned by more of you?

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