SG Will Hold Student-Wide Referendum to Repeal Executive Pay

Over 1,000 students signed a petition supporting a repeal.

By Deepti Sailappan, Managing Editor ('19-'20)

All University students will have the chance to vote to repeal an act that pays the Student Government (SG) Executive Slate.

SG approved the Executive Leadership Remuneration Act (ELRA), which provides for the payment of $4,500 per year to the SG president and $2,250 per year for the two vice presidents, last Monday.

Barring a repeal, quarterly stipends will be paid starting in fall quarter, and will come from the SG Administrative budget.

The student-wide referendum, which calls for the “complete repeal” of the ELRA, will be held on Friday, June 8, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Voting will occur via Blueprint. The referendum will pass if a simple majority of those who vote are in favor.

The referendum comes after a group of students, led by first-year David Liu, submitted a petition to SG on Friday morning with signatures from over 1,000 students. SG’s Constitution allows for a referendum upon petition by 5 percent of the student body, which would require a minimum of 796 signatures.

The petitions were publicized on the four College class pages on Facebook, and thirty students collected signatures in Regenstein and Harper Libraries.

The ELRA generated some controversy after its passage by SG Assembly, who voted 15-4 in favor, with six abstentions.

The incoming Executive Slate—second-years Sat Gupta (president) and Natalie Jusko (vice president for administration), as well as first-year Malay Trivedi (vice president for student affairs)—released a statement on Monday night criticizing several aspects of the proposal.

“This payment plan was proposed at the last Assembly meeting of the year, and there should have been more time for constituent feedback on the merits and details of the proposal,” the statement reads.

Liu said the other organizers of the referendum petition—Class of 2021 Representative Tony Ma, incoming Class of 2021 Representative Alex Levi, second-years Eugene Miravete, an incoming Class of 2020 representative, and Cathy Nie, and first-year Matthew Pinna—had different reasons for opposing Executive Slate payment.

“This petition brought us together to affirm our values of transparency, in response to a deliberate lack of communication with the student body; accountability, seeing the way ELRA was passed as a slippery slope; and fiscal responsibility, noting that funding for other SG programs have recently been cut,” Liu wrote in an e-mail to The Maroon.

Fourth-year and outgoing SG president Calvin Cottrell reaffirmed his support for the ELRA following the referendum announcement.

“Student Government Executive Pay is a [common] practice around the country,” Cottrell wrote to The Maroon in an e-mail.

“Over 70% of universities pay their executives because of the large benefits Executive Pay brings to campus. I am confident that the more people learn about SG the more they will support pay, which is why the resolution passed SG by a huge margin.”

Fourth-year Max Freedman, the outgoing SG parliamentarian, urged students to vote in an e-mail on Friday announcing the referendum.