MSA should value leadership compensation

Our student government leaders should receive stipends for their work.

by Daily Editorial Board

The Minnesota Student Association failed to pass a budget last week after members disagreed on stipends for their leaders.

The debate on compensation isn’t new. This time last year, MSA debated an amendment lowering presidential compensation for summer work. It is disappointing to see this issue come up again to derail an important task like passing a budget.

As MSA member Paul Mitchell discussed in his Sept. 30 letter titled “MSA leadership deserve stipends,” MSA President Mike Schmit works about 35 hours per week. If Schmit had a job, he would be making a lot more money, but MSA leadership positions are for servants to the student body. Giving out stipends is not just a question of how many hours MSA members put into their work. Hundreds of student group officers put in thousands of volunteer hours each year without compensation, but their work is also valuable to the University of Minnesota.

MSA’s leaders deserve stipends because they work for the composite interests of the student body. Their work is instrumental to the well-being of the University and its student organizations, which goes above and beyond both volunteerism and monetary gain.

MSA leaders are also students with financial obligations. These positions should be both competitive and inclusive to students that don’t have the means to support themselves another way.

When MSA revisits the budget in next week’s forum, members should realize the limitations they are placing upon their leaders if they don’t have stipends. While MSA members are right to be weary of inappropriate spending expenses, not passing a budget on time is also detrimental to the University.