SGA moves away from stipends


Zahraa Saheb speaks at her last SGA meeting. Photo by Hannah Lathen

Texas Wesleyan’s administration is discussing different routes for paying members of the Student Government Association.

At the March 9 SGA meeting, Eugene Frier, executive director of eSports and recreation division of student affairs, told SGA members that their payment may move from stipends to scholarships next fall.

“The plan (for payments) for next fall (is) scholarships and not stipends. The reason for that being is you are not employees of the university,” Frier said to the SGA members.
Frier said that scholarships seem to be the fairest way to pay the members with the least amount of negative implications.

“The one, and please correct me if I am wrong on this, the one potential negative drawback to this is if you are already receiving full tuition and fees in scholarships and you get a job with SGA which is paid through scholarship, that would balance out,” he said.

Director of Financial Aid Laurie Rosenkrantz said scholarships would work the same as any other scholarship students have.

“Once we get the notification of what scholarships y’all get, I will get a list from Eugene, and we will go ahead and award those students. It will just be like a regular scholarship,” Rosenkrantz said. “It will go on financial aid, and it will help pay any kind of balances that you have at the cashier’s office or anything like that. So, it is just another financial aid scholarship.”

SGA Secretary Alison Baron asked what would happen to the scholarship if a member decided to leave SGA in the middle of the year.

Frier said it would work in a cleaner way than the stipends because it is not bi-weekly.

“It is a lump sum over the semester,” Frier said. “So, like if Rebeca left halfway through the semester, at the point when they put the letter in or the notification in, what they were going to get for that semester kind of played out until that point when they left, and they would get that amount. The new person, when they come in, it wouldn’t be from when the last person left before the new person started, it would finish out the semester.”

Rosenkrantz said it is not decided yet whether the scholarship would be by the semester.

SGA President Alyssa Hutchinson, a sophomore biology and psychology major, asked whether SGA members could just become student employees instead of being paid with a scholarship.
Frier said if the members were paid hourly he would become their supervisor, and he would be able to control what SGA does.

“You would still be a student organization but employees of the university. So, if you guys have a discussion and you want to have an event and I said, ‘You are not going to do that event,’ there would not be a discussion about it,” Frier said. “It changes the nature of what y’all are, but we can talk about that if you want to talk about that.”

Representative Hasibullah Aimaq , a sophomore political science and sociology major, said he worries that paying the members in scholarships will make incoming members reluctant to join.

“It can go as a scholarship or a paycheck. Essentially it is the same thing. Eventually the student will get the money,” Aimaq said. “But by doing that, I think most students will lose their motivation about SGA.”

After the discussion, SGA passed three bills, one allocating $500 for a climbing wall to be built in Morton Fitness Center.

“This money will aid Morton Fitness Center to build the climbing wall for Morton Fitness Center members to enjoy at no cost to them,” the bill states.
Representative Francia Hernandez presented the bill and said the point of the wall is to get another activity into the fitness center.

SGA also passed a bill allocating $1,693.06 for the senior toast, which will be held May 17 at World of Beer.

Representative Jocelyn Hernadez said it is important for SGA to fund this event because it shows their support for student activities.

“Not only that, but we are also present in sending off the future alumni and hoping that they come back to participate with Wesleyan,” she said.

SGA also passed a bill that allocated $2,750 to the “Student Theatrical Experience Fund 18.” The bill was tabled during the March 2 meeting.

“This money will allow Texas Wesleyan students to see theatrical productions at Texas Wesleyan University at no cost to them,” the bill states.

The March 9 meeting was the last general business meeting for senior Zahraa Saheb as president before taking a job and finishing her semester from Washington D.C. Saheb said she asked the student body to continue to reach out and support SGA.

“SGA cannot function without the student body,” she said. “We are an organization run by the students, for the students.”

As to changing the way the members get paid, Saheb hopes the administration will become more transparent in their reasoning for changing the way SGA operates.

“I hope that SGA continues to be self-governing,” Saheb said. “I feel like that is slowly diminishing.”
Saheb said she grew up between the walls at Texas Wesleyan, and she is grateful for the experiences she has had here.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as president for this student body and this university. I want to thank everybody who has supported me and everyone who did not,” she said. “I hope to have left some kind of legacy on this campus.”

Zahraa Saheb speaks at her last SGA meeting.
Photo by Hannah Lathen
The SGA meeting discusses changes from stipends to scholarships.
Photo by Hannah Lathen
Eugene Frier talks about how the scholarships will work for SGA members.
Photo by Hannah Lathen