The fee was designed to make those types of events possible. It was not designed to put money in fellow students' pockets.
Each year thousands of dollars are paid to student officials. Stipends for Congress' leaders cost students $3,900 a year.
If you believe there are better uses for this money - bringing more speakers to campus or sponsoring more cultural or artistic events - then vote against this referendum.
2. Do we as students want a professional student government?
Currently, you fund stipends for nine student government officers, including the speaker of Congress and the speaker pro tem.
Stipends for Congress's officers are tied to a larger issue.
In general, should students have to pay for the services provided by their elected representatives, and, in effect, turn then into professionals?
This particular stipend issue has greater implications than the two officers - it's a measure of the student government we strive for.
The speaker and speaker pro tem work on behalf of the students, yet that alone should not be the criterion by which we decide if their positions merit a stipend.
In Student Congress, all members are equal. Each member must run and be elected by his own constituents. Each member must meet the same qualifications to hold office and each must meet the same ethical standards. No one's vote counts more than another's.
Providing a stipend for the speaker and speaker pro tem asks other members of Congress to acknowledge an artificial distinction, with the leadership on one side and everyone else on the other.
In fact, it is the Congress itself that appropriates these stipends.
It is wrong to allow student leaders to actively participate in debates that determine their own financial compensation. It is equally wrong to put members of Congress in the awkward position of voting on their colleagues' compensation - while they themselves receive none.
3. Are these stipends truly necessary?
Neither Congress nor student government as a whole has ever needed financial incentives to recruit dedicated members. As long as this University continues to be populated with individuals who care passionately about student self-governance, Congress will continue to find qualified and hard-working people to lead it.
In many ways the future of all student government officials' stipends rests on the outcome of this referendum. If the student body decides these particular stipends are warranted, then they have, in effect, endorsed the concept of students paying other students.
If the referendum fails, Congress will be obliged to take a close look at the seven other student government stipends and seriously consider whether or not they are the most effective use of students' hard-earned money.
Make no mistake, the issue of stipends is at the very heart of the matter about the type of student government we want for ourselves.
Contact Luke Farley, chairman of Student Congress' Rules and Judiciary Committee, at email@example.com.