LETTER TO THE EDITOR: USG unfairly disperses funds

Last week Judah Joseph, public relations director of the Concerts Committee, wrote a letter to the Daily Trojan lamenting the lack of funding for his organization.  He has a point: The 2014-2015 total USG budget increased by $71,273.03 (3.76 percent) compared to 2013-2014, but the Concerts Committee budget decreased by $2,908.09 (1.06 percent) over the same time period.

Joseph quotes an article I wrote for the Daily Trojan entitled, “USG salaries established as the highest in Pac-12,” to emphasize that the USG budget is relatively small compared to other schools, but USG still “receive[s] quotes that are two or three times higher than quotes for other schools.”

However, the solution Joseph proposed ignores an action that USG can take without asking students for more money:  cutting student stipends.

As I already reported in the article that Joseph quoted, USG student stipends are much higher than stipends in other Pac-12 schools. However, while the Concerts Committee had its funding slashed this year, USG increased student stipends by $10,092.43 (4.24 percent). Instead of spending another 10 grand to pay themselves, USG should have spent that money on concerts and other programming for USC students.

Joseph opens his article by writing that his committee serves undergraduate students. It’s time for USG as a whole to better serve undergrads and pay themselves less to leave more room in the budget for concerts.

Dan Morgan-Russell

Junior, international relations and global economy

Editors’ note: Though he is no longer affiliated with the Daily Trojan, Dan Morgan-Russell was a former writer.

3 replies
  1. sam
    sam says:

    great article. It is kind of ridiculous how USC USG has more than twice the average stipend expenses than the Pac-12 average

  2. jon
    jon says:

    Concerts?? Are there not more important thing that the undergraduate community should be spending money on? Like something, I dunno, educational or for student-made culture or helping the most vulnerable students or those hardest up? Seems like giving T-Pain more money to be terrible is probably the worst thing we could spend money on.

  3. kmarcell
    kmarcell says:

    While I understand where this may be coming from, this response is very misinformed. First of all, one of the main reasons that USG student stipends increased is because new positions were added that were paid, not because they were getting paid more. Even if that was the case, that extra $10k+ would be divided between all the committees and assemblies, and would not just be given to concerts.

    And to understand USG better, specifically Program Board, there are Directors and Assistant Directors in each committee and assembly, but only Directors get paid. Directors are required to put in 10-12 hours per week (and that’s how much they’re paid for) and Assistant Directors are required to put in 4-6 hours per week (without any pay). However, I know for a fact that they all regularly put in twice that amount of time per week (because sometimes thats what it takes to put on major events) and are not compensated for overtime. Yet you never hear them asking to be paid more, but instead, they ask for the student programming fee to be increased which means that more money would be put toward programming events which requires more hours for them which again, they would not be paid for. They do what they do because they are passionate and want to put on the best programs for students.

    I don’t think it’s fair to ask that student stipends get cut from USG without cutting student stipends all over campus just because they are the ones who program the events that you may or may not enjoy. They have a difficult task of catering to the needs and wants of an entire student body while having to work with varying USC departments and many outside vendors to ensure that each event is safe and enjoyable. I agree with Jonah that if students are complaining about certain events, they should either get more involved, be more informed, or be willing to increase the programming fee (even by $2!) to make the campus events bigger and better.

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