During the final Undergraduate Student Government Senate meeting of the academic year, the senate voted unanimously in favor of creating a permanent DREAM Center for undocumented students.
The senate resolution states that approximately one in every 200 undergraduate students at the University is undocumented. The resolution comes the same day that a D.C. federal judge ordered that the government re-open applications for undocumented students benefiting from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
The Improving Dreams, Education and Academic Success organization at USC, which focuses on aiding and creating a safe space for undocumented students and allies, said they were grateful for the support the undocumented community has received.
“With the passing of this resolution we remain hopeful now more than ever that USC can lead the efforts to ensure that the needs of the undocumented students are met fully with the establishment of this DREAM Center,” IDEAS at USC said in a statement to the Daily Trojan. “The fight continues. There is definitely more work that can be done, but this is a step in the right direction.”
For the permanent DREAM Center, the resolution calls for the hiring of one full-time staff member to address the needs of undocumented students at the University.
The staff member would be “directly involved in the continuing efforts of USG, [GSG], the administration and other organizations on campus to provide the proper support and assistance to undocumented and at-risk students,” the resolution states.
One of the main functions of the center will be to provide legal counseling to undocumented students regarding their immigration status. The resolution also requests the creation of an official resources page for undocumented students to access on the University’s Student Affairs website.
Currently, USC students and staff members can receive help from the Immigration Clinic at the Gould School of Law. The clinic provides help for USC community members who need legal advice and help filling out naturalization, citizenship and DACA renewal forms.
“The investment will be aimed at ensuring that the undocumented or at-risk student population is provided any and all information needed regarding proper legal assistance or guidance concerning their immigration status or their family’s immigration status,” the resolution states.
Along with the senate resolution regarding the DREAM center, former Speaker Pro Tempore Tyler Matheson presented a framework to determine the compensation of officials within USG.
Matheson noted the large discrepancies in the current pay system, particularly between the president and senators — the president currently makes approximately $15.63 per hour, while the senators receive $7.81.
“This is what I’m proposing as the new pay structure,” Matheson said. “Instead of an arbitrary stipend, it will be based upon seniority in the organization.”
The proposed pay structure suggests the categorization of USG officials’ wages into four tiers: senators, associate directors, programming directors and communications directors would receive $10.50 per hour; the executive board would receive $12 per hour; the vice president would receive $13; and the president would receive $14.
These modifications would result in a 10 percent reduction in compensation for the USG president. The vice president would receive 6 percent less, and senators would receive a wage increase of 34 percent.
If the 2018-19 USG Senate chooses to apply these changes, they will go into effect during the 2019-20 academic year. Members of the current senate will not determine their own levels of compensation, but rather the wages of the following USG administration.
The next USG Senate meeting will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 21 to kick off the next academic year.