Feb 022011
Authors: Andrew Carrera

_Editor’s Note: This article incorrectly reported that CSU students could pay in the 2011-2012 school year a potential fee increase to ASCSU of $2.31 instead of $0.43. The Collegian regrets its error. _

Student government Supreme Court Associate Justices Rachael Schrader and Cheyenne Moore told senators Wednesday that they should be paid $900 for their roles now because, if not, they could be bribed by upcoming election candidates who promise to give them a salary in exchange for favorable rulings in the campaign.

“That is really, really troubling to me,” said Andrew Ives, Associated Students of CSU election manager. “Is there corruption on the courts now that there is no paying?”

“No,” Schrader responded. “There’s no corruption … We just don’t want someone to think it could ever happen down the line.”

Schrader and Moore introduced the bill to pay themselves and five other associate justices they serve with for their service to ASCSU’s judicial branch this semester.

Their job consists of interpreting, upholding and enforcing the ASCSU Constitution, as well as serving on a number of committees, Schrader said. They are experiencing a higher demand of the court justices because of an increase in student enrollment.

The court deals with internal complaints when they arise and deals with student issues within Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services when needed.

While the chief justice makes $3,000 per year, up $500 since the 2009-10 academic year, associate justices are unpaid. Other associates on student government payroll include the associate director of marketing, leadership development, legislative affairs, student services, RamRide and community affairs.

The justices’ proposal, if continued into the 2011-12 school year, could increase each student’s contribution to ASCSU by $0.43 should the next presidential administration decide to continue the salaries without taking the money from another part of the budget.

“Walk me through a day-to-day basis of your office hours … what does that consist of?” asked Sen. Joe Eden from the College of Liberal Arts.

“Right now, it consists of structural renovation of the All-University Hearing Board. That requires a lot of paperwork,” Schrader said. “When it comes to reviewing the actual hearings, it could be anywhere from 15 pages of criminal activity reports to 300.”

College of Engineering Sen. Taylor Jackson raised concerns about perceived inconsistencies in the testimonies of the associate justices. If their workload was increasing, asked Sen. Jackson, then why have there not been judicial reports in the senate?

“It’s confidential,” Schrader said. “We don’t report on the number of hearings we have. We try to keep that as low key as possible … from our perspective, we see the increase coming on and quantitatively it’s hard to report that.”

Sen. Jackson later wrote a piece of legislation during the same Senate session calling for ASCSU President Cooper Anderson and Chief Justice Nicholas Yoswa to “conduct an application and hiring process to fill four student advocate positions on the Supreme Court to lessen the burden of work on the current court members,” the resolution read.

The Senate decided to send both bills to the Committee on Internal Affairs for review, which will likely resurface for a vote during next week’s Senate session.

Further legislation was discussed in the Senate that could save candidates running for ASCSU positions hundreds of dollars in election penalty fees if passed.

The proposal was submitted by Sen. Ben Weiner from the College of Natural Science who feels the current system used is broken because it favors wealthy student contenders over the less-funded ones.

Current ASCSU election rules state that those in the running who break campaign guidelines must pay fines equal to their transgression as determined by the elections committee­­ –– a policy recently put into full effect by the passing of bill 4006 in last week’s Senate session.

Some candidates shrug off the fines because they have $2,000 to spend on the campaign, Weiner said in an interview with the Collegian earlier Wednesday. “But then you have people that maybe spent $500 on their campaigns, where that’s all that (they) can scrape together … you’re putting an undue burden on them compared to the rich candidates.”

The legislation currently resides in the University Issues Committee where it will be revised and reintroduced during next week’s Senate session.

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

 Posted by at 5:58 pm

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