BREAKING: SRC VP Awarded Annual Stipend
By Madeline Ward
The executive of the University of Sydney Student’s Representative Council (SRC) has today passed a motion to award the role of the SRC Vice President an annual stipend of approximately $ 27, 820. This figure is to be split evenly between the current Vice Presidents in accordance with SRC regulations. The position of Vice President is not a historically paid position, with the role being a largely symbolic one in years past.
The decision has reportedly been made in consideration with the fact that the current Vice Presidents Dane Luo and Caitlyn Chu have been conducting more work than a Vice President typically would. SRC President Jacky He told Pulp:
“From my perspective...if there is a position like VP in the SRC...it should be a functional position. The president, the general secretary and the VP all bring value to the src, serving different roles. The president does much of the representation, administration and decision making. The General secretary handles a lot of the internal ongoings of the SRC. The VP is a public facing role of the SRC, which has not historically been fulfilled to its potential. The VP should connect the organisation with other parts of the University. Dane and Caitlyn have been performing above and beyond their obligations, taking on work in the absence of unelected office bearers such as planning a Welfare Week in semester one.”
Pulp understands that Luo and Chu have been taking a more proactive approach to the duties that are outlined as required of their role within the SRC regulations, including assisting the President and General Secretaries in negotiating with the University of Sydney for the annual allocation of the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF). Luo and Chu are members of the majority block that voted in Yuxuan Yang for his second term as General Secretary in 2019, despite being absent for a large part of last year, as Honi reported in October of 2018. Their stipend allocation is equivalent to that of the General Secretary.
SRC General Secretary Niamh Callinan explained to Pulp that the funds for the VP stipend have come from the newly available base funding guarantee of $41,345, which was previously used for expenditure relating to the SRC bookshop. The remaining $13,534 will be allocated to new SRC projects and initiatives, subject to discussions with SRC department managers. With SSAF negotiations currently underway, a $27,820 expenditure on two new stipends is an interesting move for a new executive that has otherwise been prioritising frugality. The SRC operates using a reasonably modest budget that is primarily obtained through yearly SSAF negotiations with the University of Sydney, and provides free case work and legal services to undergraduate students, as well as funding student activism. The first council meeting of the year will be used to elect the office bearers that remain unelected after three failed attempts at repselect in 2018, meaning that the council will be waiting until early march to formally discuss the new stipends.
Stipend reform has been unsuccessfully attempted by previous councils, though these attempts have typically sought to create stipends for multiple office bearer positions, rather than in response to the reported workload of individuals. Pulp understands that the current executive are considering broader stipend reform for a number of office bearer positions, though no changes to the regulations have been formally proposed. The newly minted Vice President stipend will be reviewed later this year.
Madeline Ward is a current member of Grassroots and was the 2018 SRC Women’s Officer.