UB’s ample checks surprise some students
University at Buffalo Student Association President George Pape, Vice President Jocelyn Tejeda, and Treasurer Anthony Burgio each make $10,000 per year for their positions within SA. Some students feel that this amount of money is a little excessive. “I think it’s absolutely absurd, and there’s no reason for it,” said Megan Lawler, a freshman international studies major.
However, UB is not the only school that pays its student government executives. SUNY Stony Brook, which has a similar enrollment to UB, pays its SA president, vice president, and treasurer $8.25 an hour, for a maximum of 15 hours per week. This works out to only $3,960 per year, according to Stony Brook SA President Sandy Curtis.
The other perks of being a UB SA officer were surprising to Curtis as well. “Are you serious? They get a cell phone, too? I’ve got my treasurer here next to me and he’s dying!” she said during a phone conversation. Stony Brook SA members do not get a cell phone.
Of the eight schools contacted by Generation, only one school, SUNY Brockport, pays its executive board more. According to Brockport student government President Matt Gelina, he is paid $15,000 per year and his vice president and treasurer each earn $11,000 per year. However, the Brockport student government only has a total of seven paid positions, compared to the 58 stipend positions and 14 hourly positions in UB’s SA.
Ivy League schools lean towards the other end of the student stipend spectrum. At Harvard, officers of the Undergraduate Council do not get paid at all, and there are no stipend positions anywhere in the council. At Princeton, the same is true. Officers in its Undergraduate Student Government (USG) do not receive stipends or benefits of any kind.
The total amount of money spent at Penn State on stipends is $21,990; at Albany, around $30,000 per year; Binghamton spends $29,900 each year. If all three of these universities added their stipend budgets together, they would still be $30,000 short of the UB SA’s yearly stipend budget of $113,850.
“The fact that they get so much money wouldn’t be that bad if our clubs had more; if our clubs were well-provided for,” said Lawler, a member of both the Irish SA and the UB Boxing Club. “It’s not fair.”
“I would like to know why they need the $10,000,” said Erica Pastore, a sophomore art history major. “If they published a detailed job description that explained why they need it, and they could justify why they should be paid that much, then they ought to get it. They owe it to the students to publish something like that. Personally, I have no clue what George Pape does. I know he’s president and he organizes stuff but other than that I don’t know what he does or how complicated that job is.”