Trinity’s Student Government Association recently announced that they were considering making future SGA offices paid positions. The idea is in its infancy, but it has already resulted in mixed reactions from the student body.
Jacob Sanchez, an SGA senator representing the first-year class, explained that the idea originated during a conference between various student governments from different schools.
“The first time that I was involved in the discussion to pay our student government was at the conference of Student Government Associations in College Station this past March. After learning that many of the universities attending compensated members for their service, the Trinity delegates began to explore the idea. If put into practice, this would only apply to future senators,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez elaborated on the arguments in support of the idea and against the move to make SGA offices paid positions.
“The argument for paying senators is that it could increase participation and as a result increase the talent in SGA. On the other hand, this change may lead to a decrease in the experience of SGA and corrupt the representation of the student body,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez then discussed his own opinion on the matter, expressing that he does not support the move.
“At this time, I do not support paying members of the student government for their participation in SGA. I believe it is a conflict of interest for members of SGA to receive a direct payment from the university while still maintaining the integrity of their representation of and responsibility to the student body,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez went on to expand on exactly why he finds it unnecessary to pay SGA senators.
“The interactions I have had with students that were members of paid student governments described the move to pay senators as a necessity to maintain the organization. At Trinity, we have a strong and engaged student body. This type of incentive is warranted when you have an apathetic student body, and that just isn’t the case here,” Sanchez said.
The student body has expressed mixed feelings regarding the issue, Sanchez explained.
“SGA sent out a survey in our newsletter and we have received feedback. What we’ve found is that there is not a consensus among the students as to whether or not senators should be paid,” Sanchez said.
Noah Boriack, Trinity first year, expressed strong disapproval of the idea.
“I think it’s a terrible idea. We pay a lot of money to go to this school, and I think that money needs to go toward what it was meant for,” Boriack said.
One of the main criticisms of the plan is that the student activity fee, which is included in tuition, isn’t meant to pay SGA.
“We pay the student activity fee so that we students can attend activities, not so that SGA can get paid,” Boriack said.
Boriack continued to question what qualified SGA officers to be paid.
“For the most part, SGA isn’t usually the group planning and coordinating the events anyways. They’ve done more recently than they have in the past, sure, but usually they’re just there to fund other groups and their events,” Boriack said. “I get that being a senator probably takes up a lot of their time, but they’re just like officers for any other student group. You sign up for these things because you want to do it, because it looks good on a resume, and maybe you even want to do a little good for the school. Not because you want to get paid.”