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Friday, March 01, 2024
Leland Pan

Former UW-Madison student Leland Pan advocates for an increase in the GSSF student wage at Thursday's SSFC meeting. 

SSFC approves student wage increase

The Associated Students of Madison Student Services Finance Committee raised General Student Services Fund student wages Thursday, also making revisions to the process of reviewing student wage levels in the future.

Committee members raised the budgeted level for students’ wages to $10.50 per hour, up from the previous hourly wage of $9.19, impacting all Registered Student Organizations under the fund’s scope. The previous level was made effective July 1, 2007.

Numerous members of student organizations on campus voiced their support for the measure.

Leland Pan, a former UW-Madison student who currently represents District 5 on the Dane County Board of Supervisors, voiced support for the increase, citing the fact that the referendum in the November election—asking if voters would support raising the minimum wage—passed “overwhelmingly” on campus. Pan also stated that the original wage level did not measure up as a living wage.

Mentioning that the original hourly level of $9.19 was originally set to meet the living wage, he called for similar reasoning when considering raising it now.

“This is actually just really bringing policy back into the norm of what ASM … has done,” Pan said, calling it a “strategic move.”

Charity Schmidt, a Teaching Assistant on campus and member of the Teaching Assistants’ Association, also voiced her support for raising the GSSF student wage.

“No one should work at this university and still go to bed hungry,” she said.

Schmidt added that raising the GSSF student wage to $10.50 may not seem like much, but can go a long way to help those students, saying it is a worthwhile use of student segregated fees.

“I think this raise while seemingly small will make a big difference for students on campus,” Schmidt said, also pointing out it will allow students to take better care of themselves and be successful.

Some committee members did voice concerns with the measure, stating the ramifications may not be as widespread as intended.

Representatives Dylan Fiedler and Ian Malmstadt cautioned against voting in favor of the legislation in the hope that entities like the Wisconsin Union and Recreational Sports would follow suit.

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They pointed to the fact that both employ many more students than GSSF groups and would be unlikely to follow suit with the increased wage rate even if it proved popular because doing so would bring a large financial burden to students.

Other committee members stated the current focus should be on GSSF groups, and not other entities, as raising their wage would still help a large number of students.

“I think this is one of the reasons why SSFC exists,” said Representative Jessica Franco-Morales, citing the committee’s importance in the wage debate.

The legislation to increase GSSF student wages to $10.50 will take effect July 1, 2016.

SSFC also made revisions to the process of reviewing the GSSF student wage and salary caps.

The revisions call for SSFC to review the wage every year to make sure it is at an appropriate level before beginning budget hearing for GSSF groups. They also require the committee to adjust GSSF salary caps appropriately to accommodate wage changes.

Following the wage decision, SSFC addressed recent wage violations by the student organization Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán, which works to promote Chican@ culture on campus. The violations included members not enrolled in classes receiving pay and members logging high overtime hours, all of which occurred in a condensed timespan.

The committee allowed MEChA ten days to return $113.28 to ASM.

SSFC also made budget approvals for the student organizations Atheists, Humanists, & Agnostics and Sex Out Loud.

AHA’s budget was approved at $64,350.60 and Sex Out Loud received a budget of $98,489.

To conclude its final meeting of the semester, SSFC elected Representative Hoyon Mephokee as its next secretary.

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