In the 2017 fall semester, Florida A&M University’s 46th senate passed a bill to stop paying student government officials. Due to this, freshman who were elected last semester will not be compensated like their predecessors.
“I did expect to get paid but at the same time, pay shouldn’t be the focus,” said freshman Senator Travis Finley. “I feel like getting paid is a plus, but it’s not a necessity.”
Former Attorney General and current Senator Jeremiah Carter expressed his dedication to the FAMU student body despite the fact that his position, along with many others, is no longer cashing in paychecks.
“I didn’t sign up for the money, I signed up to serve the 9,000 students that attend FAMU,” said Carter. “I’m serving the student body free of charge.”
The reason Finley and his SGA peers no longer receive financial perks is because of the senate’s historically low unallocated budget last year. For the first time in years, the budget was under $30,000.
Senators tried a new approach with the budget by sacrificing pay in order to have an increase in senate unallocated, which is the account that is used to fund different entities on campus.
“We decided to make that sacrifice for the student body,” said Senate President Pro Tempore, Rochard Moricette.
Student leaders agree that while compensation would be a plus, money is not what drives them to make beneficial changes for the student body.
“When you start your campaign, you should want to do it genuinely to make changes and plans-of-action that you want done rather than find a way to get compensated,” said Finley.
“You should want to do that out of your heart.”
Another contributing factor for why the student senate voted for these pay cuts is for an increase in hard-working individuals. Carter, who experienced being a paid member of SGA, feels no different about his unpaid senate position than his paid executive branch position.
“The pay was good but who did I impact while I was in this position,” said Carter. “The reason why I came back was because students asked me to come back, I knew I wasn’t getting paid.”
Although student leaders are willing to work for the student body without payment, some senators do admit that work without pay is taxing.
“When you have senators in senate meetings up until the midnight hours on a weekly basis, that check really does a lot,” said Moricette.
“You can be in there for hours and hours on end. That’s when you reach the point that there’s some way I should be compensated,” said Finley.
Though this is a fairly new bill, senators are trying to implement bringing pay back.