UT Senate creates accountability system for executive board

Kayla Meyertons

On Wednesday, UT Senate of College Councils passed Senate Resolution 1602 to create a stipend accountability system for executive board members. 

The Senate president, vice president, financial director and policy director each receive a monthly stipend from their annual operating budget, according to the bills description.

The accountability system aims to create a transparent understanding of how Senate directors are utilizing the given stipends. The bill outlined a monthly stipend report for each of the officers to fill out each month. 

“The report is important because it doesn’t in any way stipulate an aspect of time,” Senate financial director Chris Whitehair said. “It’s just about what student Senate members are using the money for and whether it is a just use of the stipend.”

Whitehair, a finance senior, said the bill is modeled after a similar accountability system used in Student Government.

Bishop Wash, advertising senior and Senate policy director, said the resolution is another effort to make sure members of Senate and the student body know the directors are doing their jobs. 

“When it comes to Student Government, people are kind of wary. It’s like, ‘Whoa, these people are my age and they’re in charge,’” Wash said. “But we’re just showing them that we’re responsible — we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing.” 

Wash said the stipends given to the council directors are an appropriate gift from the University, given the more than 40 hours and frequent on-call services council directors contribute to their jobs. 

Psychology junior Maggie Morris, vice president of Liberal Arts Council, said she supports the bill but wishes it had included more.

“I was definitely in support of it,” Morris said. “The only thing we would have liked to have seen added is something similar for course evaluations, but that’s something we’re looking into for another piece of legislation. This is just a simple piece of legislation moving it somewhere that it’s more accessible to students.”

Economics sophomore Katie Horstman, co-chair on the Senate Academic Policy Committee, said the resolution is a progressive step for Senate that should have happened sooner.

“Giving students the opportunity to look into how Senate and the Council are spending their stipends is really important for sure,” Horstman said. “Our function is to serve them, so if [we] look through and [realize] they don’t support the programs that we’ve been working on, [it’s] a big issue.”