The Pros and Cons of Paying Student Council

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

As a Student Council, we value student opinion on an array of issues. Student Council is currently in the process investigating some possible form of payment for council members. The issue of Student Council pay has been discussed at Student Council meetings with students and council members as well as at budget cuts forums and with the administration. We have been working with students as well as current council members to compile the following list of pros and cons on the issue.

1. May make Student Council members more accountable to students and to admin—payment will shift expectations of the quality and quantity of work that gets done. Will require more consistent attendance by StucCo members.

2. Will make StuCo more accessible—particularly to students who are required to work as a component of their financial aid package.

a. A more diverse student council will create better lines of communication between a variety of students, student groups and the administration.

b. A more diverse student council is an issue of economic access on campus. It is our job as students to make sure that students from all socioeconomic backgrounds are able to participate in campus activities, like student council.

3. May increase the number of candidates, and diversify the students who run for Student Council.

4. May increase voters as students will feel more invested in the candidates and their performance. May make the study body as a whole more invested in keeping student council members accountable and attending open Student Council Meetings.

5. Will enable student council members to spend more time on StuCo because they do not need to work other campus jobs.

6. May help to make other students look to StuCo for accomplishing concrete tasks and goals

7. Will add skill-building jobs to campus

1. Fear of motivation—people who really want to help community vs. people who just want a job

2. StuCo jobs may be perceived as cushy jobs, would have to find a way to prove their accountability.

3. There is no direct supervisor approving the hours.

4. Is this the most valuable use of administrative or SBC money?

5. As there are budget cuts, paying student council may take away other campus jobs.

6. Payment: who will bear the cost?

In closing, we welcome students to add their own pros and cons on this issue in the comments thread. In addition, we invite all students to come to StuCo Forum on April 6th 7:30pm in KOHL Coffee Bar.

The Phoenix

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