April 17, 2015

SG announces Student Leadership Stipend program

On Tuesday, Student Government (SG) President Tyler Kissinger and College Council Chair Hamid Bendaas announced a proposal for a new Student Leadership Stipend (SLS) Program. This program would allow leaders of student groups to apply for $250 stipends every quarter to offset some of the costs of working so that they will be able to devote sufficient time to their organizations.

A student leadership stipend will be awarded following an application process. Leaders of all RSOs will be eligible to apply for an SLS award. Applications will be reviewed by a committee consisting of RSO leaders, Students-At-Large, and the College and Graduate Councils. After a list of SLS award recipients has been drafted, the Office of College Aid will ensure that at least half of the students who receive an SLS have demonstrated financial need. Kissinger and Bendaas estimate that 20 students will receive an SLS award in the program’s first year.

The new proposal was drafted in the wake of student pushback against a fall quarter announcement that certain members of SG would be receiving stipends for their positions. In October, Kissinger announced that an executive cabinet with paid positions of $300 and $500 per quarter would be created. This proposal was a source of significant controversy, with over 700 students signing a petition in favor of a referendum on the stipends. The request for a referendum was ultimately rejected, and no stipends were ever paid out.

In this new proposal, members of SG would also be eligible to apply to the SLS program, but Kissinger noted that these applications would not receive any special advantage in the selection process. In such cases, SG members would abstain from voting, Kissinger said.

College and Graduate Councils will still need to approve the proposal, according to the blog post. Voting will take place during sixth or ninth week, when SG allocates the budget for the 2015–2016 school year, Kissinger wrote in an email to the maroon.

The money for an SLS will come mostly from fundraising, according to the blog post. SG plans to work with Alumni Relations and Development to garner philanthropic donations to fund the program, although these negotiations are still in progress. Kissinger noted that any additional money will come from the SG administrative budget. No money will be taken from student organizations to fund the SLS.

Kissinger wrote that the current SLS proposal had been in the works for the past three to four months, with he and Bendaas spearheading the initiative. In drafting the proposal, Kissinger and Bendaas were in communication with Campus and Student Life and the Office of College Aid.