College News

Student pay, leadership training questioned as internal budget hits finance committee

SSFC asked ASM Chair Katrina Morrison questions about the internal budget.

Image By: Jon Yoon

The Associated Students of Madison’s internal budget made its appearance at the Student Services Finance Committee meeting Monday night, where members raised questions about the costs for student pay and leadership training — two potential points of contention as the committee will vote on the budget later this week.

Last week, the budget swiftly passed Student Council — where several SSFC members have a seat — but presenter ASM Chair Katrina Morrison was asked questions for about an hour Monday night.

Here were some of the major parts SSFC committee members highlighted:

Payment for student positions

More student leaders will get paid if the budget is approved in its current form. Last month, Coordinating Council members added amendments that would allow the vice chairs on both the Legislative Affairs and Sustainability committees to be paid up to 10 hours per week.

Each position would add up to $3,360 for the upcoming fiscal year. Rep. Jeremy Swanson asked Morrison why these positions hadn’t been paid in the past and should now.

Positions that are mandated to exist by state law — such as the Grant Allocation Secretary — are currently paid. Morrison said this is because ASM needs to incentivize people to apply for these positions because a not having those roles would set back a committee’s progress.

However, this isn’t necessarily the case with all committees, including Legislative Affairs, Equity and Inclusion and Sustainability.

“Vice Chairs are absolutely encouraged to show up [to these committee meetings], but if they don’t show up, the committee is not going to fall apart and so that reasons that there is a proposal for them to be paid is because leaders in ASM think it’s not fair to pay only some vice chairs and not all vice chairs and they believe there should be more equity in that,” Morrison said.

Rep. Jake Victor asked Morrison why it was important that students in general be paid for their positions in ASM.

“I believe that it is completely unfair to ask these student leaders to put in the number of hours and the amount of work that they’re putting in with no type of compensation, personally, I think that’s just inhumane because we have dedicated our lives to ASM,” Morrison said. “Speaking for myself, every single day is consumed by ASM and if I was doing that without compensation, it would just be unsustainable.”

Leadership training

ASM holds a number of trainings for new committee and Council members as well as representatives, many of which are held off campus. Morrison said one of her goals as ASM Chair was to get more student leaders involved in leadership training.

Rep. Dylan Resch pushed back against the idea that the trainings needed to be held off campus, suggesting that the budget could be more “fiscally responsibly spent” by using this money elsewhere. Specifically, Resch asked what Coordinating Council — made up of the committee chairs in ASM — did with their $200.

Due to an error with the budget, Coordinating Council only received $200 for their orientation this year — $800 less than what was approved the year before — and thus went over budget.

But Morrison stressed that committee chairs didn’t have extravagant lodgings, but stayed at a children’s camp called Hoofbeat Ridge. Additionally, Coordinating Council’s orientation was one of the costs that Morrison said was spent most consistently.

“By having the trainings off campus, it provides the people in ASM with a different environment and a different way to experience what is being asked of them,” Morrison said. “If it were to be on campus, it could allow for distractions, it could allow for people to show up halfway through or late.”

The committee will vote on ASM’s internal budget Thursday.

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