Phillips defends GSB salaries

Rebecca Carton

In regular allocations last Wednesday, GSB denied funding to student groups for salaries, but voted to pay salaries for some of its own members.

GSB President Brian Phillips, senior in political science, said because GSB is offering services to students and requires a lot of time and energy on the part of some members, GSB is often able to waive Priorities and Criteria – the rules it uses to make funding decisions – although senators try to stick to P&C as much as they can.

“We have to change the rules a little bit so we can run the administration,” Phillips said, adding that the salaried positions within GSB require an “immense amount of time and energy,” and the positions pay “very little.”

Phillips said most student organizations are classified as general student groups, and general student groups do not receive funding for salaries.

“We categorize ourselves as an office,” said GSB Finance Director Ryan Myers, graduate student in accounting.

GSB also pays for salaries for some organizations, such as Student Legal Services, because those organizations provide services to students.

The members of GSB who receive a salary are the webmaster and IT director, the clerks of finance and the senate, and the director of ambassadors.

“It’s in the bylaws that we pay for certain positions so that they can spend their time on student issues,” Phillips said.

Myers said these members are paid because of the service they do for students, and, in most cases, they work behind the scenes instead of attending meetings.

GSB also funds parking passes for both the chief of staff and the speaker of the senate.

Myers said these expenses are paid for because of the amount of time those members are required to spend at the offices in the Memorial Union.

The GSB president and finance director get paid full tuition and room-and-board stipend, the vice president gets full tuition and half room-and-board stipend, which is different from the payment made to any other member of GSB.

“It’s different than anything else because of time commitment,” Myers said.

Many salaries have increased, which Myers said was because the minimum wage was also increased.

Karla Walsh, editor-in-chief of Ethos magazine and senior in journalism and mass communication, asked for funding to pay members a salary for their work. Although she was denied the request, Walsh said GSB has funded Ethos’ salaries in the past.

“How they funded in the past was a lump sum. They used to just give us a sum of money and [said] ‘spend it how you please,'” Walsh said.

Phillips said in the past student publications were paid based on their circulation numbers and number of publications per year. Most groups were required to provide a list of expenses, but publications were not.

Phillips said this year’s regular allocations process “closed that loophole.”

Walsh said she didn’t understand why members of her student group could not receive salaries while members of GSB could.

“I find it interesting because it seems like the reason why they were telling us we couldn’t have salaries is because other groups couldn’t have salaries,” she said. “I just wonder if they put it in that order so that we would be out of the way so we wouldn’t hear that salaries are OK for some groups but not others.”

Rita Cook, treasurer of the ISU Rodeo Club and junior in agricultural business, asked for funding to hire bullfighters and pickup men for the Cyclone Stampede Rodeo, which was a two-day event in 2007. The request was denied because the hires were considered salaried positions.

Cook said she believed her group fell into a “black hole” that had been overlooked in P&C.

“I guess we need our Priorities and Criteria rewritten for the future so things like this don’t happen again,” Cook said. “It has been funded in the past. We’re definitely not upset with GSB, but we would like to see it changed for the future.”

Cook said her organization is looking into other ways to fund bullfighters and pickup men, which would cost around $20,000.

“Basically, our only other option is to get sponsorships from outside companies,” she said.

Cook noted that the Rodeo, Water Polo and Triathlon clubs were all denied funding for safety personnel that were classified as salaried positions.

“We’d like to see safety and personnel and equipment higher on GSB’s funding priorities next year,” she said.

Myers said even though the issue of safety and salaries may be looked at, he believes there is nothing wrong with the current P&C.

“It’s not the role of student fees to give the basic issues of an event. The student activity fee is there to make things easier for student organizations,” he said. “I would doubt that anything will change.”