Members of the United States Congress are not allowed to raise their own salaries in the same term as they hold a vote to do so. That way, any time a pay raise is scheduled, representatives have to face the voters before it takes place. The last time Congress raised its salary successfully was between 2008 and 2009, when automatic pay raises were removed. By removing automatic pay raises, the United States Congeresses went a step further towards strong anti-corruption measures, taking even more potential for abuse out of the system.
These sorts of measures are necessary for all organiztations vested with allocating a budget.
This is of course done to diminish the opportunities for self-dealing and corruption.
Although it might not be completely disingenuous for Congress to increase its own pay, it certainly looks shady. IUSA administrations on our campus need to realize that using student money for executive perks and scholarships is similarly questionable.
In the same spirit, the Editorial Board would like to see the budget outlays for executive scholarships come from outside the IUSA budget. We cannot say it is necessarily corrupt to have the IUSA congress members providing executives scholarships, but it would work to reduce the appearance of impropriety if the money came from somewhere they do not control.
Currently, IUSA works with a $50 thousand annual budget payed for by student fees.This is used for all sorts of things to ostensibly make IU a better campus for students. Yes, that means that you are paying for everything IUSA does, including providing scholarships for executive candidates.
Each of the executive officeholders of IUSA receives a $3,000 scholarship for their time.
Since there are four executive offices – president, vice president of administration, vice president of congress and treasurer – IUSA’s budget provides $12,000 in scholarships from student funds.
Some, such as the Empower ticket, believe these scholarships allow students who otherwise would not be able to participate in student government to take part, since the money can help subsidize their involvement if they would otherwise have to be working.There is a reasonable objection to this; students who are stretched to pay their own tuition and college expenses are funding the education of other students through their student fees. The Refund Supreme ticket, no disbanded, wanted to lwer student fees in part by doing away with these scholarships.
Additionally, others believe this is simply people in power abusing the system, using money from student fees to line their own pockets. The Editorial Board suggests that the money come from another source. That way, executives and members of Congress are not in charge of their own scholarship amounts.
As stated above, it is not enough to avoid impropriety. IUSA must also avoid the appearance of impropriety to maintain organizational credibility and trust.
Whether the scholarships are self-dealing is irrelevant. To some on campus, it appears that way, and that is enough to delegitimize student government in their eyes.IUSA’s budget should be spent directly on campus. It should all go toward the students.
Since they are the ones putting up the funds, they should be the ones to see direct benefits from them. IUSA could partner independently with any of the numerous bodies on campus providing scholarships to students, or perhaps have executives declared employees of IU so they could receive a salary. The student fee we pay for our government, however, should be used for campus spending.
Regardless of who wins the elections, this is a positive change the Editorial Board believes would help in uniting IU and fixing perceptions many on campus have about student government.
The editorial board believes this is a change we can all support.
Opinion Editor Zack Chambers is involved on an IUSA ticket and had no
input on the Editorial Board’s decision.