DASB senators vote to pay themselves top rate among local colleges

Ethan Bennett and Julia Kolman, Editors

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 The DASB senate endorsed the student leader compensation resolution to request to pay senators $930 and executive officers $1,200 per quarter.

The endorsed resolution will be presented to the Foothill-De Anza Board of Trustees.

DASB President Lawrence Su and Student Trustee Genevieve Kolar drafted the resolution, which would cost a minimum of $51,930 to a maximum of $90,990 annually.

Kolar initially proposed paying senators $100 and executive officers $300 per quarter at the May 1 DASB senate meeting. Senators suggested increasing the stipends to $500 for senators and $800 to executive officers per quarter.

Kolar presented a draft of the resolution on May 8, which stated senators would be paid $720 and officers be paid $1,200 per quarter.

Su and Chair of Finance Ian Robertsson said the senate is asking the district for a high compensation in hopes to negotiate the terms.

“We started very low, but the main idea of pushing it higher, higher and higher was so we have something to negotiate with the board of trustees,” said Robertsson.

Accountability

According to Su, senators should spend a total of 10 hours working for the DASB senate per week: two hours at senate meetings, two hours at shared governance meetings, two hours at committee meetings, two hours of office hours and two hours of field hours.

Su said officers should spend an additional two hours planning for committee meetings and writing agendas.

The resolution states senators spend up to 62 hours and officers spend up to 80 hours per quarter working for the DASB senate. This would average 5.6 hours for senators and 7.3 for officers per week.

Su said senators do not have opportunities for field hours every week and not all shared governance meetings are held regularly.

Office hours are managed through a sign-in sheet.  Su said it is not heavily enforced, but that is would be if senators received payment.

The DASB senate said they do not know who would manage the money to pay senators and officers. Some senators suggested to give the responsibility to the DASB adviser, but Su said this is unlikely.

“We might have to hire another person just to look over (the money),” said Su. “Ideally, I don’t want that to happen, but this is going to take a lot to really keep things in order.”

Alternatively, Su said the executive advisory counsel may manage the senator payments.

Kolar said further discussion is necessary to determine how to hold senators accountable.

“If you don’t go to meetings and you don’t do what is required of you as a senator or executive, then you won’t get your money,” said Kolar.

Robertsson said the vice president should hold the student government accountable by ensuring senators attend shared governance meetings.

Foothill College

Su said that local community colleges including Foothill, Las Positas, Chabot, West Valley, Mission, Monterey Peninsula, Evergreen and San Jose City College pay their student senators.

Foothill College offers quarterly scholarships to the Associated Students of Foothill College president, vice presidents and up to three senators “that show initiative,” said Bret Watson, vice president of Foothill Finance and Administrative Services.

The vice presidents include finance, administration, activities, senate and inter club council positions, according to the Associated Students of Foothill College Student Leader Scholarship code.

The scholarships are worth $650 for the president, $450 for the vice presidents and $250 for senators, totalling $10,725 per year.

The dean of student affairs oversees the funds and the Associated Students of Foothill College accountant manages the paymements, which Watson said come from student body fees.

According to the code, the president and vice presidents are considered for the student leader scholarship based on their campus council attendance, leadership training attendance, shared governance participation, board meeting attendance, communication, submission of quarterly goals and self-reflections and Associated Students of Foothill College sponsored events attendance.

Senators are considered for the scholarship based on their completion of the scholarship application, attendance, special projects completion and leadership.

Other community colleges

According to the Las Positas student government bylaws, the president may receive a scholarship of up to $1,000 per semester, the vice president up to $800 per semester, the directors of legislation, communication, events and inter club council chair up to $700 per semester and senators up to $300 per semester.

Mission College gave a “one-time stipend” to senators in the fall quarter, but cannot sustain compensating senators regularly, according to Rachael Goldberg, director of student development. The senator stipends were the first occurrence of its kind in six years.

Monterey Peninsula College offers up to $250 per semester to the legislative branch, including senators, and up to $300 per semester to officers, said Yuliana Barron Perez, Associated Students of Monterey Peninsula College president.

Individuals are eligible for the stipend if they complete their term or submit a formal accepted resignation. Senators and officers receive peer evaluations in five categories that determine the compensation earned.

$13,000 of the $80,000 student body funds are allocated to the stipends.

“This year we voted on reducing the stipend budget and using those funds for something more beneficial for the entirety of Monterey Peninsula’s students,” stated Perez. “The amount of work we do does not equate to a ‘fair pay’ necessarily, and therefore, the stipends are not great enough incentives for students to focus on when joining student government.”

Equity

The endorsed resolution would pay senators $15 per hour, about the local minimum wage.

Kolar said paying senators would attract low-income students to serve on the senate.

“If we want to continue improving as a school, want to up enrollment, want to have a vision for De Anza, we need to change our view of students, and recognize that student governance is necessary,” said Kolar.

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