This past week, the Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC) released its budget for the 2015-16 school year. This year, UGBC will receive $328,000, a nearly $9,000 increase from their budget last year. The organization is funded through the student activities fee—in total, approximately $36 of the $324 charge each undergraduate pays is applied to UGBC. This means UGBC receives about 11 percent of this money, with the rest of the money going to the Campus Activities Board, the Student Organization Funding Committee, and club sports. UGBC initially requested about $10,000 more than they received.
Of the budget the organization received, $17,500 total will go toward individual stipends for executive UGBC officers. President Thomas Napoli, MCAS ’16, will earn $4,000, executive vice president Olivia Hussey, MCAS ’17, $3,500, and five of their appointed vice presidents will receive $2,000. The amount of money for stipends is 0.6 percent of the student activities fee, which means each student at Boston College pays just short of $2 toward UGBC stipends.
The question to students becomes just how valuable their student government is—will UGBC provide the average student with over $36 in benefits this coming year? For example, Steve Rosenfeld’s visit and talk on campus last year—advocating for students to be confident and accept their flaws—is something that the majority of students could appreciate. To give students their money’s worth, UGBC will need to deliver events such as this one at scale, and actively work to make sure that this money is allocated to externally beneficial initiatives rather than internal perks.
It’s troubling to see how little has been done to reform UGBC’s practice of compensating its executive officers. While it’s tolerable for elected officials to accept stipends, the practice of awarding cash to appointed vice presidents—irrespective of performance—is an irresponsible application of student funds. An executive body enriched by the University necessarily accepts certain expectations with those stipends. It’s worth asking whose expectations are more likely to be met—the students who play little role in determining the amount awarded or the high-level administrators who chose to allocate $17,500 to student advocates this academic year.
Featured Image by Drew Hoo / Heights Editor