USG restores assistant director stipends following backlash

The Undergraduate Student Government Senate approved an amendment to USG’s bylaws that reinstated annual stipends for assistant directors of departments within the funding, communications and programming branches. 

In February, the former USG Executive Cabinet approved an amendment to USG’s bylaws that eliminated stipends for assistant directors of these branches and raised stipend amounts for students in higher-level positions, including the president and vice president. Assistant directors were not involved in the decision-making process for this change. 

“I was an intern last year, so I knew I wanted to stay in USG and apply to be an [assistant director] because I’d get paid and I could still do work for USG,” said incoming creative services assistant director Gary Wu. “[Not getting a stipend] wasn’t known to a lot of us who were applying.” 

Wu said the cuts to assistant director stipends and the pay raises for higher USG officials felt “like they took [the pay] away from us to give to the directors.” 

“Doing four hours of work a week gets kind of tiring,” Wu said. “I’m super grateful that they kept it because we’re doing a lot of work for the student government, so we do deserve to get paid for our time.” 

Establishing stipends for assistant directors resulted in salary reductions for members of the USG executive team. 

“Everybody on the executive team took a pay cut — the president and vice president took the largest pay cut to make this happen,” said Speaker of the Senate Gabriel Savage. “It took a little bit of deliberation amongst everybody in the executive team … but I think it was the right move. I’m very pleased with how it went. I think that people made their voices heard.” 

The Senate also approved the creation of an intersemester senatorial committee to address student concerns related to the coronavirus. 

Savage worked with President Truman Fritz and Vice President Rose Ritch to create a means to continue advocating for students given the circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic throughout the summer. Issues under the committee’s jurisdiction include ensuring student housing refunds go through and responding to questions regarding the potential resumption of in-person classes this fall. 

“What we know is that this is a dynamic and evolving situation and that we don’t want our hands tied in how we can address any things that come up over the summer,” Savage said. “We don’t know exactly what challenges may present themselves moving forward, but we want to make sure that we have a task force ready to mobilize whenever that might happen.”

Tuesday’s meeting concluded the Undergraduate Student Government’s semester of weekly meetings. The Senate will resume its meetings next fall.