USG leaders paid $19,106 of students’ money this year

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The president of the student body gets paid about $10,000 a year to represent the student voice.

He gets paid from student general fees, which then go through the University to the student government budget.

President of the Undergraduate Student Government Alex Solis gets paid the equivalent of full in-state tuition, $10,606 and Vice President David Neely gets paid $3,500 for the full year. To compare, Bowling Green city council members make $5,000 a year, according to earlier BG News report.

This amount could create a conflict of interest if they have to oppose the University for the students.

USG Adviser and Dean of Students Jodi Webb insists the USG members don’t have that conflict.

“[USG is] a key part of our campus,” Webb said. “So while they do receive that stipend, they are respected as the student voice, not a University employee.”

The way Solis and Neely get paid is through the USG budget.

The organization receives a certain amount every year to spend on stipends and other projects the group works, said Treasurer Ebonee Johnson.

“What Alex and David do are considered full time jobs, because neither can have real jobs with how much they do for USG,” she said. “So the dean of students and USG thought it was appropriate to compensate them for their work.”

Johnson said the stipends for members in USG make up about 50 percent of the budget, which is about $40,000 this year. See the full break down in the factbox.

Solis and Neely said they work hard every day for USG.

“I’m averaging about 40 to 50 hours a week at times, about 40 just with the meetings I attend,” Solis said. “Just a few I have are University council, ex-officio, four standing committees, general assembly and two projects.”

Neely feels like his job takes the place of a part-time job.

“I’m working for USG about 20 to 30 hours a week, meeting with students, administration, standing committees, general assembly and more,” Neely said. “The stipend helps subsidize the work I do because I don’t have the time do work a part-time job.”

They both said they have never felt pressure to agree or side with the administration because they are paid from the University.

“I don’t see it as getting paid from the University, I see it as I’m getting paid from the students through their money and the general fees,” Solis said. “The general fees get allocated to our budget, which we get paid from. It’s a misconception that we are only for the [administration]. Look at our track record. I can tell you countless times we have gone into battle with the administration to represent the students.”

Junior Katrina Adams sees how a bias for the University could occur for Solis and Neely while they are getting paid.

“If they focus on the students and their hours are put to good use, it’s alright for them to be paid the amount they are,” she said. “I feel like it’s a lot of money, but it might be worth it for all the work they do.”

However, sophomore Valerie Skorupski feels they are paid too much.

“It seems like an exorbitant amount,” she said. “They are students and I am too but I work two jobs and don’t get paid that amount.”

Neely uses the money to work for the students.

“There has been no decision that I have made where I thought about me getting paid by the University,” Neely said. “I only do it for the students. I’m getting paid to represent the student body, so it allows us to give 100 percent day in and day out because we don’t have to put our efforts elsewhere to make money.”