Student government stealing student money
This Thursday, Rutgers University Student Assembly is voting on a bill to provide salaries to the RUSA e-board, and of course, the people who actually can vote are the people hoping to receive the money. The executive board of RUSA would like to ensure that RUSA money is spent on themselves. If you oppose this, come to the RUSA meeting Thursday at 8 p.m. in the Student Activities Center on the College Avenue campus.
This Thursday night RUSA is voting to offer salaries to their student officers to prevent any student from being excluded either based on financial reasons, or because a RUSA time commitment prevents them from being employed. However, these reasons are not sufficient to provide monetary compensation. First, even without a financial incentive a number of students run for e-board. Second, many of the e-board, including the secretary and chairs, have part-time jobs alongside RUSA responsibilities. Third, the RUSA e-board ran for the position aware of the necessary time commitment and are aware of the opportunity costs inherent in the position. While RUSA e-board is a time commitment it does not prevent a member from having a job and is not more time consuming than any other student responsibility.
If the RUSA e-board wanted to help the students financially then instead of helping themselves, they would send their extra budget to scholarship funds or spend their time advocating for financial support. The e-board can lobby Trenton for more funding, can work with the telefund to solicit funds, can donate themselves or can suggest to Rutgers other ways to cut funding. If RUSA was concerned with how expensive tuition is, than the e-board can work on it. Tuition was not even one of the RUSA’s e-board’s campaign promises.
When the current e-board ran for election they ran with three campaign promises and have accomplished none of them: shared governance, cheaper textbooks and campus safety. Have they even made progress? Also has the e-board even organized any campaign that helps students this semester? They mentioned helping veterans and students with mental health stigmas, yet all of these bills were tabled or “sent back to committee.” Should an ineffective e-board be compensated? (Unsurprisingly, this bill to pay RUSA members made it out of committee before the other bills.)
If RUSA has extra money, they can give it to causes or scholarships instead of taking it for themselves. Being awarded money for sitting in an office and not accomplish any of their goals is a greedy bureaucracy. Maybe RUSA members deserve to be compensated for successful campaigns that help students after they complete their campaign resolutions, because being paid to accomplish nothing is a waste of student money.
Come voice your opinion and hear the vote.
Talia Friedman is a senior in the School of Arts and Sciences majoring in Middle Eastern studies and economics.