ASUA cuts $3,000 from future paychecks
ASUA senators last night ended their terms in office by chopping $3,000 from the paychecks of future student leaders.
As tempers flared during a three-and-a-half hour meeting, Associated Students senators decreased stipends for several appointed officials, including the ASUA treasurer and public affairs director.
"I really feel like programs and services are being screwed," ASUA's Administrative Vice President Ryan Rosensteel told senators.
ASUA President-elect Cisco Aguilar said he was also disappointed with the meeting's outcome.
"I'm frustrated," said Aguilar, who serves as executive vice president. "People were getting frustrated and making cuts just to make cuts."
Aguilar said he supports programs and services, but student officials need to be paid equally.
"I think there's a lot of inequalities in ASUA. If you want qualified people, you need to compensate them," he said. "If you look at the entire Pac-10, ASUA is the lowest paid (student government)."
Sens. Marisa Hall and Dave Snyder spearheaded the effort toward cutting back on official pay.
"The less money we spend on stipends, the more we can spend on services for students," Hall said.
But the cuts left some ASUA members disappointed.
Senators allocated $21,200 for programs and services, $500 less than the proposed figure. The Senate also attempted to cut Administrative Vice President-elect Viviane Safrin's stipend from $3500 to $3000, a motion that was defeated.
Safrin said although stipends do not affect job performance, she felt that her staff was slighted.
"I think for the amount of work the programs and services directors do, a more sufficient recommendation needs to be made," she said.
ASUA Executive Vice President-elect Ben Graff said he felt the stipends should have been approved before the officials were appointed, but that the night was successful.
"Minus all of the commotion, we're the first Senate in five years that paid attention to the (ASUA) bylaws," said Graff, an Associated Students senator. "If anyone thought the night was going to go smoothly, they didn't know the facts."
Aguilar agreed, saying that many officials took the stipend adjustments as a reflection of their performance.
"It gets personal," he said.
Hall left the meeting with a sour assessment of her year with ASUA.
"Tonight was a huge disappointment to add to a whole string of disappointments this year," she said.
Sen. Ferdie Echiverri offered a final word of advice to the senator-elects, who remained until the meeting ended at 9:30 p.m.
"I know you want to save world hunger and rescue the battered whales, but try to pick things you can accomplish next year," he said.