Cervin Morris will not pay tuition next year. Neither will his three vice presidents, Andrea Wells, Felicia Cruz and Jared Renfro.
It’s part of the Associated Students Legal Code. According to the code, “Each executive officer must receive full payment of university-assessed undergraduate fees, excluding nonresident tuition and health insurance, for each of the Fall, Winter and Spring Quarters for his or her term.” These four officers instead pay their tuition from the A.S. General Fund.
It’s certainly no secret. Likely any A.S. officer would gladly explain why he or she doesn’t pay tuition if a student asked about it. However, it’s still something most students don’t know about. And if they did know, they’d probably be pissed.
This year alone, using A.S. funds to pay the executive officers’ fees drew $23,108.76 from the A.S. funds – that’s $1,925.73 per officer, per quarter. It’s not much compared to the vast sums A.S. normally deals with, but it’s enough to partially support A.S. Business Services or A.S. Community Affairs Board, both of which needed money but had fee initiatives voted down in last week’s election.
Ideally, the waiver should reward officers for their tireless work; however, the wording of the Legal Code simply states that anybody in office skips out on tuition, regardless of how hard he or she works. Whether the work is satisfactory, unsatisfactory, exemplary or downright shitty, the officer pays no tuition as long as he or she maintains the office.
Additionally, executives are eligible for an honorarium – a $400-per-quarter bonus stipend they can receive if they fill out a simple checklist form saying they have done their job. It amounts to mere yes-or-no questions, plus a short paragraph in which the applicants describe how they have “gone above and beyond [their] job description.” The applications rarely get rejected.
This system potentially rewards incompetent A.S. officers with free tuition and needs to be abolished.
The Nexus proposes a redesigned system of compensation for A.S. officers. Instead of blindly paying executive officers’ tuition, regardless of performance, A.S. should demand that its leaders pay the fees just like the 17,000-some UCSB students they represent.
A.S. executives could work hard. God knows the dozens of mind-numbing meetings they attend aren’t fun. As compensation for their efforts, the $400-dollar stipend should also be replaced with a heftier stipend – a suitable reward that requires a more rigorous application than a mere checklist and handwritten paragraph. The applicants should have to prove that their work deserves a financial award. That proof could come through letters of recommendation, meeting attendance records, whatever. A higher honorarium should demand a tighter screening process.
Cervin and company: the Nexus likes you; the students like you. The Nexus endorsed most of you. and the students elected all of you. But when it comes to tuition-waiving, we don’t yet like you that much.
If you guys do the job you promised, a resized honorarium could compensate for that tuition you were counting on not paying. And if not, well, at least the collected student body wouldn’t have to foot the bill for you.