To the editor:
Today marks the beginning of campaign week, and once again the Wellesley student body is asked to consider the candidates for next year’s College Government Cabinet and the Ballot Initiatives vying for the $11,000 set aside from the student activities fee each year. For the past four years, the Student Leadership Stipend Committee has campaigned for these funds to raise awareness of Wellesley’s unique policy of not compensating Resident Assistants (RAs) or House Presidents (HPs), and ask for a show of student support for a change in this policy.
This year, after many meetings with college administrators, I am pleased to report that the Student Leadership Stipend Committee has made progress toward our goal. The Provost’s Budget Committee (PBC) is now reviewing applications for new budget items, including the compensation of RAs and HPs. While this progress is heartening, we have not yet secured a policy change and have been informed that such a change is unlikely given the importance of other applications to the PBC this year.
Given this uncertainty, the Student Leadership Stipend Committee must once again ask for your vote. If adopted by the student body, the funds will be distributed equally amongst all Resident Assistants and House Presidents for the 2015-2016 academic year. Each stipend will serve as a token of gratitude to our tireless student leaders, and as a demonstration of the full-fledged student body support for the application for RA and HP compensation that is now under consideration by the administration.
The time to end Wellesley’s policy of non-compensation of RAs and HPs is now. RAs and HPs are critical to the successful implementation of first year orientation, roommate mediation, Residence Hall-based community building, resource referring, and countless other essential College functions. And now, after changes in federal statute Title IX last year, all RAs and HPs are mandatory reporters of sexual assault. These responsibilities should not be shouldered by a group of volunteers. These responsibilities make all RAs and HPs important College employees, and each of them should be compensated as such.
A vote for the Student Leadership Stipend (SLS) Committee Ballot Initiative is a vote to end a long-standing discriminatory policy against students of lower socioeconomic status. A vote for SLS is a vote for all those who have been discouraged from applying to student leader positions because they could not afford the unpaid time-commitment of the job. A vote for SLS is a vote for a better Wellesley.
President, Student Leadership Stipend Committee