Ruling against the court

 Uncategorized
Feb 092011
 
Authors: Andrew Carrera

The student government Senate voted down legislation Wednesday night that would have paid each associate justice $900 each this spring semester for work they said adds up to 10 hours a week.

Associate Justice Rachael Schrader told the Associated Students of CSU body she deserves fair pay for the work she does.

“At the bottom of every job description at ASCSU, it says always go above and beyond your duties,” she said. “We’ve stepped up, and we’re asking for just compensation.”

The legislation was introduced last week and sent Wednesday night to the Committee on Internal Affairs to be discussed.

Schrader said the justices work an average of 10 hours a week, four of which are office hours and the remaining six incorporate a variety of hearings.

“This semester, we are pushing our limits … We are going above and beyond what is asked of us on paper,” she said.

The court –– according to ASCSU literature –– interprets, upholds and enforces the student government’s Constitution. It hears disputes between student organizations and recognized clubs, and determines if students with criminal records should be admitted to the university.

Sen. Mohamed Jefri, from the College of Business, fought for the bill’s passage.

“I encourage you to vote yes on it as a ‘thank you’ for all their service,” he said.

But Sen. Taylor Jackson, from the College of Engineering, disagreed and wrote additional legislation last week that would put four student advocates –– possible volunteers –– on the Supreme Court to “lessen the burden” felt by the justices.

“I do recognize that the court justices do a lot of work, but I don’t think that a ‘thank you’ is the right reason to give them a salary,” she said, citing RamRide workers as people who also deserve gratitude, “but not necessarily in the form of $900 stipend per semester.”

The Senate voted down the bill in a vote of 7-11 but expressed an interest in revisiting the issue with new legislation that would start paying associate justices during the fall semester, in accordance with a normal ASCSU pay cycle.

There are currently no student advocates serving on the court, and the ASCSU Handbook has no job description detailing exactly what the position entails. For this reason, the Senate voted, in an overwhelming majority, to delay discussion on the measure indefinitely.

Because issues tend to get lost or forgotten once tabled, Sen. Ben Weiner, of the College of Natural Sciences, opposed this decision. He added that associate senators were once able to assist, despite not having a job description, so why not the student advocates?

Sen. Jack Harries, from the College of Liberal Arts, voiced opposition, saying that he thinks it’s important these job descriptions be hammered out before the Senate votes on it.

The resolution will be debated Friday by the Senate Committee on Internal Affairs and is likely to receive a Senate vote next week.

ASCSU Beat Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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