I’d like to take this column to answer some questions about the Student Bursar in the wake of the second special election and the continuing vacancy.
What does the Student Bursar do?
They chair SOFC (the Student Organizations Funding Committee), which decides how the student activities fee should be spent, and head the Bursar’s Office, which handles the disbursement and management of the student activities fee. They also serve on CG Cabinet and on BAC, admin’s Budget Advisory Committee. Most importantly, they serve as a liaison between SOFC, the Bursar’s Office, the student body, CG Cabinet, and administration to ensure that student funding needs are met.
Why is it important that this job is held by a student?
The people deciding how much money orgs and events will have are your fellow students. The Bursar is elected by a vote of the entire student body and therefore is accountable to you as an elected official. The Bursar being a student means money is spent how students want, not how administration or College staff think it should be.
How much is the bursar paid?
The Bursar gets a $3000 stipend for the year. That money comes from the student activities fee; a student ballot initiative several years ago allocated 3.5% of the activities fee to pay Cabinet stipends. Right now, that ends up being around $27,000 total or $3,000 to each Cabinet member.
Why does no one want the job?
It’s a lot of work, and it’s specialized enough that some experience with the Bursar’s Office and/or SOFC is useful. Typically, a bookie has become the Bursar, but because the bookies are paid hourly and the Bursar gets a stipend, it is often more work for less pay.
How do we fix that?
The Bursar needs to work less or be paid more. As for working less, the Bursar’s Office and OSI are trying to hire a staff person to assist with the workload (but not the decision-making), and the next Bursar will work with Cabinet and OSI to refocus on the big picture parts of the job and avoid getting overburdened with the minutiae of bookkeeping. To increase pay, there would have to be a student ballot initiative in the spring, but that money would continue to come from the student activities fee and would therefore not be going to other student needs. Whether that trade-off is worth it is for you to decide, not me, but I would be happy to discuss the process.