The Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College Senate voted Monday to increase the constitutional limits on the stipends of various ASCMC officers by a margin of $100 to $700 per officer. The senate votes were divided by dorm, and the proposed constitutional amendments were passed by all dorms except Claremont Hall. The measures will go into effect next year.
The vice president saw the largest stipend increase, from $800 to $1500. Other stipend increases include those of the chief financial officer, student activities chair, class representatives, and the editor-in-chief of The Forum.
Vice President Aditya Pai CM‘13 was among the chief advocates of the proposed increases. Pai sits on them ASCMC Budget Committee and argued for the raises in the senate debate, according to The Forum.
“The budget committee perspective was essentially that the current level of stipends did not reflect accurately in either absolute or relative terms the time commitment or responsibility of the jobs,” Pai told TSL.
Others think the stipends, which are much larger than those of student government officers at the other 5Cs, are too high.
“It’s been common observation both on Exec Board and outside Exec Board that these stipends as they are currently written in the constitution are vastly skewed compared to the amount of work each position does,” said Connor Barclay CM ’13, ASCMC Junior Class Representative.
The senate debated where to get the funds for the $3,300 in raises.
Barclay said that while the raises are appropriate, the money to pay for them should come out of the ASCMC president’s stipend.
“Board officers should be [paid] higher relative to the ASCMC president,” Barclay said. “However, I believe that this should be achieved by a redistribution of the president’s stipend to those of the officers. I am vehemently opposed to increasing the total amount of stipends ASCMC distributes.”
The president of ASCMC currently receives a stipend of approximately $14,000 per year. Seven thousand dollars is directly paid for from student fees while the rest comes from the Dean of Students Office. By comparison, Pomona’s student body president earns $1,500 per year and Scripps’s makes $900. The Harvey Mudd and Pitzer student presidents do not receive monetary compensation.
The proposal to pay for the stipend increases by decreasing the president’s salary was brought up in the Senate hearings, but the debate on that option was postponed to a future meeting. Because of this decision, Barclay has decided to run for ASCMC president in the upcoming election. He will be running against Pai, who was a vocal proponent of maintaining the president’s current stipend.
“If I was elected I would donate it back,” Barclay said. “I’d encourage Pai to do the same thing if he was elected, just because I think it’s wrong. Students don’t have the option to opt into ASCMC. They don’t get to choose if they think it’s a good investment for two hundred dollars plus in student fees.”
Pai said he thinks the stipends accurately represent the importance of the ASCMC officers’ work.
“I think it reflects the nature of our organization. The difference between ASCMC and a lot of student governments is that we are legally independent from the college and we govern ourselves,” Pai said. “Unlike a club president or an editor-in-chief of a publication or some other position on campus that involves a lot of time and commitment, the student government official position is one that benefits everyone.”
While Barclay agreed with the raises, he said that raising the total amount of money allocated for ASCMC stipends is against the spirit of student government.
“These positions should be positions of service,” he said. “This is obviously taking advantage of the same students we are sworn to represent.”