This year especially, the ASUA Supreme Court has played a vital role in student government. It gave Jason Wong a second presidential election and (wisely) denied him a third, even while addressing his concerns about fairness in student elections. And tomorrow, the court will hear arguments over the issue of greek funding.
The justices on the student court do an important job, and considering the expanding work load (30 cases this year), they were also justified in asking student government to start paying them for it. So students should have no beef with the Associated Students' decision last week to start paying justices a stipend every semester. (Whether that figure should be $550, as ASUA has decided, is another question, of course.) Student legislators went too far, however, in giving current justices back pay, also in the amount of $550 per semester, for up to two semesters.
Simply put, the justices knew what they were getting into. They volunteered for a job, and while their work is appreciated, it is not their right to ask for money after the fact. Furthermore, it was irresponsible of the Undergraduate Senate and the Graduate and Professional Student Council to pay the justices retroactively.
After all, where do you draw the line? Volunteers have served as ASUA Supreme Court justices for a long time. Should ASUA seek them all out and award them a stipend based on the work they did? Of course not. Payment for services is something you decide on before the fact.
And yet, all the undergraduate and graduate legislators except two (one said no, one abstained) thought it was hunkey dorey Ä in their last meetings of the semester Ä to spend still more student money on people working within ASUA.
This may be a wild suggestion, but if student government has so much money to play around with at the end of the year, perhaps they could spend it in a way that would more directly benefit students. Or perhaps they could save it for next year's administration.
Then again, it could have chosen to spend the money on new computers to spiff up their own offices. Or on useless remodeling of ASUA offices. Or on a really exciting leadership conference so student "leaders" can be even better politicians-in-training.
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