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Student senators considering paying some secured clubs

Charles River Senator and Senate Sustainability Committee Chair Oliver Price ’20 is working towards potentially paying secured clubs and, eventually, the Student Union. 

His proposal, which is in its very early stages, would create a third designation of clubs other than just chartered and secured. Secured clubs participate in a separate annual marathon before chartered clubs and cannot be removed except for a student body wide vote on a constitutional amendment, according to the Student Union constitution.

The ability to pay student club leaders, and potentially the Student Union, would allow Brandeis undergraduates to pursue their interests and be paid—rather than having to take on-campus jobs.

“It’s an equity issue. Students who need to find on campus work can’t do that through the Senate or any part of student government,” said Price in an interview with The Brandeis Hoot.

“If you have to choose one or the other you’re going to end up choosing the financial choice,” continued Price. “It does end up that people who can take these roles are better off and will have better resumes . . . that’s just not right.”

This other designation of clubs, said Price, would be a subset of secured clubs, where clubs would have the option of applying for funding to pay certain student leaders through the allocations board—which designates all club funding. 

Club Support Committee Chair Joseph Coles ’22 is in favor of the idea to pay some student club leaders, he told The Hoot in an interview, because secured clubs like the Brandeis Emergency Medical Corps (BEMCo) and the Waltham Group do important work on campus for long hours. 

“They are important clubs,” Coles told The Hoot. “They have an exceptional impact on campus and running those clubs is a lot of work.”

Coles and Price met on Oct. 9 to discuss the potential senate initiative, which Price hopes to lay the foundation for before his graduation. Coles also suggested that the Senate put a cap on the amount of money allocated to pay student leaders, since that money would come from the Student Activities Fund (SAF)—the one percent tuition tax that pays for all student club life on campus. The Allocations Board (A-Board) would distribute the funding, creating another layer of checks and balances, said Coles.

Coles, however, is against the idea of paying student leaders, as it could place a high annual cost on the SAF and working in the Student Union is a lower hour commitment than some club commitments. But neither proposal is in writing and both the Senate and the student body will have to be consulted, said Price, in order to change the constitution and the bylaws—the governing documents of the Brandeis Student Union.
Other institutions, including the University of Minnesota and the University of Maryland, pay their student body presidents according to an article by AP News, though the stipend varied from around $6,000 to around $10,000 per year.

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