Letter to the editor

In response to “USG salaries established as the highest in the Pac-12”

On behalf of USC’s Undergraduate Student Government, I would like to offer a very simple explanation as to why USG pays its members: diversity and inclusion. As an organization, USG strives to attract and retain some of USC’s brightest and most diverse students. In order to do that, USG inevitably hires and appoints students every year that come from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds.

If we do not pay our members, students who are in need of a paid job on or off campus would be unable to commit their time to serving the student body.

USG members receive a stipend in order to allow student leaders to be compensated for their time commitment. Through this stipend, a large population of student leaders have the opportunity to serve on USG, who otherwise would not be able to afford to commit their time to the organization. Offering financial compensation for the hours USG members work allows students who personally finance their own education to work on USG.

To explain further, USG positions (which require some members to work up to 20 hours per week) take time away from other responsibilities, some of which could include a job, internship or any other type of monetary compensation for their time and work elsewhere. The fact of the matter is that if we don’t compensate our members, we lose out on some very talented students.

Transparency has been called into question on behalf of our stipends and compensation. However, the USG budget, however,  is publicly displayed on our website. Public schools are required to publish their stipends, but USC, as a private school, is not required to maintain public record of USG’s stipends.

The first thing the Kurth-Park administration implemented was salary cuts across the board, resulting in more than $30,000 of funds, which were reallocated into the budget. Contrary to accusations, we have chosen to remain transparent with our budget and expenditures, including student compensation.

Personally, like most USG executive positions, I was not aware of the compensation when I first joined. Typically, to join USG, students initially participate as a delegate, then pursue a position as an assistant director, which make up the majority of our organization.

These positions are not paid, and only positions that require the time commitment of a part-time job are monetarily compensated. These positions are compensated for a minimum number of hours that are required to be in the office working on advocacy, programming, legislation and/or funding. These compensated hours, however, are nowhere near representative of the total hours that our members dedicate to their respective responsibilities.

It’s that simple.

We want USG to mirror the diversity of the student body as much as possible. With no compensation, USG would not only lose out on some incredible talent, but also would be segregating itself from the diverse student body it works so tirelessly to serve.

Christian Kurth

USG President


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2 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Then why are the top executives in USG guys from the Row, year after year? This reeks of political double-talk

  2. Bill
    Bill says:

    Nice, except the issue is not that you pay yourselves, the issue is that you waaay overpay yourselves.

    Mr. Kurth, you will make a great politician by skirting the issue and not answering the question. Fabulous characteristic for one as young as yourself.

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