Why haven’t we gotten paid?
By Sara Orozco, KUPS Correspondent
Those with a job working for any of the media organizations on campus probably are asking the same thing: where are our paychecks? Since the beginning of this semester, almost all staff members in KUPS, Crosscurrents, Wetlands, Elements, Photo Services, and The Trail have been missing their pay. There’s one thing we can say for sure: It’s no longer in ASUPS’ hands. ASUPS approves budgets and student stipends through a lengthy bureaucratic process of senate meetings, but as of right now, only two positions are sitting on their desks awaiting approval on their part. Thirty-five (35) positions have already been successfully contracted and are set to have received stipend awards between Oct. 21st-24th. Eighteen (18) contracts are still waiting for approval from Financial Services, whom ASUPS has to work with in order to get all contracts approved. Ten (10) contracts are waiting for signatures from student leaders or finance approvers, to be sent to the next step, which is being approved by Financial Services.
Something interesting that students should keep in mind is that a ‘stipend’ is very different from a regular paycheck, at least in legal settings. The University’s student media positions operate off of stipend payments instead of salary or hourly payments since a stipend works more like an allowance to a student or intern. This allows the University to bypass laws surrounding minimum wage since these positions are seen as education opportunities. According to Nate Sansone, ASUPS President, the $296 student government fee, which is included in everyone’s tuition costs, contributes towards paying for these stipends, so students are actually the ones fronting the money for these jobs.
So why have these positions taken this long to be approved or receive pay? Sansone says, “The process for approving paid positions was especially challenging before ASUPS’ fall election as the Senate struggled to meet quorum. Structurally, it is bureaucratic and a bit burdensome, but ultimately necessary to ensure internal equity in ASUPS’ student leadership stipends. The Senate affirmed this importance with Senate Bill 22-209, which commits my administration to ensuring ‘that no additional stipend or piecework positions will be created, and that no payments will be promised for opportunities that have not yet received proper SLRC [Student Leader Review Committee] and Senate approval.’ We are working through this process, and I think we’re on a strong path to ensuring student leaders are paid for their work.” It should be noted as well that other members of ASUPS are working very hard to ensure that our students are being paid. In my interview with several ASUPS cabinet members, they made it clear that they were happy to hear and answer any student’s concerns or questions.
The first batch of paychecks for the year should be in mailboxes this week if your contract was signed at the beginning of the semester. The various reasons behind delays in pay point to larger institutional issues rather than a sole responsibility on ASUPS or any individual.