A bill brought up for consideration at the Inter-Residence Association’s (IRA) bi-weekly meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 11, was to provide compensation for the seven student members of the IRA executive board. The full text of the bill can be found here.
According to Sarah Rouhan, the Cynic’s reporter covering the meeting, the compensation bill was tabled until the IRA constitution is revised, which may happen sometime before the end of the semester.
A transcript and audio of an interview with IRA President Bob Just and the bill’s creator, Peter Cesiro, can be found here.
Quoted is the text of a speech by UVM student Jimmy Candon that he delivered at the meeting:
My name is Jimmy Candon. I am here speaking on behalf of myself, one of your constituents, an on-campus resident who pays the IRA fee each semester. I apologize for writing this, but please understand I need to choose my words carefully so that my role right now as an “IRA fee-paying on-campus resident” doesn’t get confused with my two other roles, an RA and SGA Senator.
Some of you may be familiar with who I am because of my initial role publicizing your executive board’s proposed bed waiver compensation. I have come tonight to express similar disapproval for an increase in compensation now. I primarily opposed the compensation last semester due to the reallocations of money compared to the previous year your executive board made, then you approved, in order to create an additional $40,000. The Readership program was reduced from $35,000 to $7,000. There was a reduction greater than 50 percent in the cumulative amount of money allocated for Social, Educational, and Community Service Programming and no money was allocated for Co-Sponsorship, Sponsored Programs, or the Resident Support Group. For an organization whose role it is to represent all on-campus residents, I found it hard to justify that this was in the best interest of the students.
My disapproval tonight falls upon the same ethical question: is this right? What areas of IRA have suffered financially to make this a possibility? Would the on-campus student body approve of IRA spending almost one fifth of its working budget towards their seven executive board members? Did the Board of Trustees intend for the IRA fee to be used this way when they approved the fee?
As I told your President last semester before I went public with their proposed compensation package, “I don’t feel like the on-campus student body would approve of this use of money.” Despite untrue excuses of misinformation, I say with confidence, I was right.
It might interest you to know that SGA Senators like myself receive no compensation, the President of our largest club, the Outing Club, receives no compensation, the President of the WRUV radio station, even the President of UVM Rescue receives no compensation. There is a quote in The Adventure of the Norwood Builder where the fictional character Sherlock Holmes says, “The work is its own reward.” I ask that the IRA executive board look to this philosophy for compensation instead of continuing to attempt to further their own.
As Sarah Glassman put it last semester when she was explaining to me why she single handedly voted down the bed waiver compensation, “I thought of it as an ethics check.” So it’s up to you, I urge you to make the right decision. As your President Bob Just stated in the Cynic interview, his name may not be on this legislation but he did help to create it. I urge you to disregard your executive board and make the decision based on what you believe will be the best for the organization.
I wish I could stay, but I have to get back and study for an exam tomorrow. I will T the P, trust the process. I trust you will all make the right decision tonight. I look forward to reading about it in the Cynic next week, Sarah Rouhan does a great job keeping the rest of the campus informed on this topic. Thank you very much for your time.