ASCMC Senate Set to Vote on Stipend Increases

Tonight, Monday, February 20, at 9:30pm, the Claremont McKenna College student Senate will vote on a constitutional amendment to raise the maximum stipend amount for many Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College (ASCMC) Executive Board Members. Members of the ASCMC Budget Committee introduced the plan at last week's Senate meeting. The motion was tabled until tonight. The ASCMC Budget Committee, consisting of eight

members, met twice over two weeks before proposing the stipend increases. The Budget Committee includes ASCMC President Jessica Mao, Vice President Aditya Pai, Chief Financial Officer Lacey McLean, Campus Organizations Chair Ed La Cava, Executive Secretary Stephanie Haft, Senate Pro Tempore Miles Lifson and two ASCMC senators Eric Bean and Jasmine DiLucci. Haft and Lifson do not have votes on the committee. No other ASCMC officials were involved in the process.

The largest suggested increases are for the VicePresident, increasing from $800 per year to $1,500 per year, the Forum Editor-in-Chief, increasing from $200 per year to $800 per year, the Chief Financial Officer, increasing from $1,000 per year to $1,500 per year, and the Social Affairs Chair, increasing from $700 per year to $1,200 per year. All stipend increases will not take effect until the next term with the exception of the Forum Editor-in-Chief. The Editor-in-Chief's stipend will be retroactive, if Senate approves it.

In February of 2011, the Senate considered ASCMC stipend increases and approved a constitutional amendment increasing the stipend for the Ayer Editor from $200 per year to $500 per year. Senate rejected a proposal to increase the Forum Editor-in-Chief's stipend from $100 per year to $250 per year.

CFO Lacey McLean explains that, "The Budget Committee decided to propose an increase in stipends for several positions in order to better reflect the nature and commitment of the positions. We also decreased the stipend for one position (Student Security Director). We believed there were several positions that deserved more compensation than they were currently receiving because of the demanding nature of their positions, particularly the SAC and the Forum editor."

McLean also notes that despite last year's $10 increase per student in ASCMC fees, "the stipend amounts have remained unchanged for several years." Historically, says McLean, the general fund for ASCMC has been around $5,000, and with the additional funds (all ASCMC expenditures come from student fees), the general fund has grown to approximately $15,000. The Budget Committee's proposal increases the total amount spent on stipends from $16,700 per year to $20,000 per year, an increase of $3,300.

Even with the proposed increases, McLean believes that the stipends "do not fully reflect the amount of time and effort ASCMC officers put into their positions."

According to ASCMC Vice President Aditya Pai, approval of the proposed stipend increases would require a constitutional amendment passed by the student Senators at tonight's meeting. In an email sent to ASCMC Senators last night, Sunday, February 19, Pai wrote, "The amendment would simply involve a 'motion to raise the constitutional limits to the amounts suggested in this [proposal].'" To approve the proposal, two-thirds of all dorms, regardless of the number of senators voting must vote in favor of the motion.

ASCMC President Jessica Mao noted that despite the proposal's introduction in Senate tonight, the decision to vote immediately or table the issue for a later time remains in the domain of the Senate. Mao hopes that the Senate will consider the proposal carefully and take the time necessary to make their decision on altering stipends.

If Senate does approve the stipend increases tonight, the proposal will move to the ASCMC Executive Board for approval. The proposal would also require a two-thirds majority from the Executive Board for passage. Voting members on the Executive Board include the ASCMC President, Vice President, CFO, COO, Executive Secretary, SAC Will Brown, Dorm Affairs Chair Clare Riva, Student Life and 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.

The full proposal can be found here.