“It’s simply ensuring that there is accountability of how stipends are used and that student government stipends are good, and a recognition of student government officials,” said finance committee chairman Joshua Aristy.
Aristy formed a subcommittee to review the stipends after a discussion last fall about stipends and their purpose.
“The subcommittee decided they were indeed useful,” he said.
Stipends are meant to reimburse certain members of student government, specifically student body president, vice president, treasurer, student attorney general and honor court chairmen.
The student body president receives a stipend of $300 each month while the other positions receive a monthly $200 stipend.
“We wanted to keep (student government) affordable for everyone so we thought the stipends were necessary,” said the head of the subcommittee, Joseph Chaney. “The goal is pretty much to eliminate the red tape for the stipend process.”
Currently, the members of student government who receive stipends are required to submit a report on their spending every month. The bill changes this review process to in-person reports twice a year but doesn’t affect the amount.
“We feel that currently stipends are being used properly by student government,” Chaney said. “Therefore there is no reason to make any change in the amounts.”
The subcommittee decided the monthly reports were cumbersome, according to Chaney, because many members of student government were not filing them.
“We thought that the monthly reports weren’t really coming in and that was unnecessary so we decided to make it biannual and we could just audit it at the beginning of the semester,” Chaney said.
Aristy himself had very little to do with the subcommittee.
“I simply just formed it and got reports from them,” he said. “As the chair of the full committee, I try to let members run their own subcommittees so I’m not interfering.”
Aristy said this decision has nothing to do with Student Congress’ recent review of Student Body Vice President Kyle Villemain’s stipend.
“The subcommittee was formed entirely before that matter was discovered,” Aristy said.
Villemain also didn’t seem to think this bill was in relation to his review.
“It seems like a pretty innocent bill, just kind of a logistical update,” Villemain said.
Although Villemain was not aware of the bill, he said he does see the importance of the stipend review.
“There’s a lot of value to these traditions and they’re more about ensuring student government is able to be an accessible position for everyone,” Villemain said.
At the meeting, Aristy moved to change the wording of a subsection regarding summer stipends. The bill then passed with no objections.