Editorial: Student fees shouldn’t be used for GSB scholarships


Senators vote on budget items for fiscal year 2016. Among debated bills were club funding, creation of a new committee and compensation reform.

Editorial Board

The Government of the Student Body voted to allocate scholarship funds to high-ranking members of the student government on Wednesday. The scholarships and their recipients are as follows: a full-tuition scholarship for the president, half-tuition scholarships (based on in-state tuition) and parking passes for the vice president, finance director of GSB, speaker of the Senate and vice speaker of the Senate. All mandatory fees are also covered.

The allocation of these fees would be significantly less frustrating — and perhaps even understandable — if they weren’t coming out of student fees. As students, we all have the obligation to pay these scholarships through our mandatory student fees.

While the scholarship for the finance director was lowered from full to half — or at least it appears to have been lowered, as the GSB bylaws do not specify that the finance director previously received a half-scholarship as it states for the vice president — the addition of the two half-scholarships for Senate leadership represents an increase in GSB entitlements and the chances that candidates and subsequently elected officials are becoming involved with GSB for the wrong reasons. Those reasons being personal gains as opposed to bettering the quality of life of the individual student and supporting worthy student organizations.

There is no problem with students who put their valuable time outside of the classroom back into helping the university and the student body as a whole, but offering such steep levels of compensation is borderline excessive. There are countless other students on campus who put in the same amount of work, or more for that matter, for other organizations, charities or other students around campus. These students do not receive the same level, if any at all, of compensation. In short, the work put in is not equivalent to the monetary benefits received.

There is also an issue in granting such scholarships to students who, while elected officials, were only elected by just under 13 percent of the student population. If all students were aware of the work that GSB does — as they should be because student fees are one source of GSB funding — then they could justify granting themselves such awards.

The GSB bylaws specifically state that the officials “shall be offered” their scholarships. They are by no means mandatory for the position, but no person in such a situation could be expected to turn down free money, as nearly every college student needs more. This point leads us back to the previous assertion that receiving benefits is fine, but not the benefits as they currently stand.

The most troubling aspect of the scholarship reward system is that GSB members vote on the matter themselves. The new measure to pay the speaker of the Senate and the vice speaker of the Senate passed 23-4-2 and the previously established scholarships passed after a floor vote.

For the taste of this editorial board, a return to the previous scholarship reward system would be an encouraging step. Keep the mandatory fee payments, keep the parking pass, but don’t take thousands of dollars for being elected by less than 15 percent of the student population.