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Stipend Controversy Deepens: SGA Refused ‘Treasurer’ Stipend

By Colette Gallcher / Copy Editor

Recent disputes within the Student Government Association led to internal and external pressure on several senators to rescind or a motion that prevents the SGA’s finance committee chairperson and acting treasurer from being paid this semester.

Arguments against the full $1,000 stipend for Senator and finance committee chair Christina Liudvinaitis and her duties this semester include the fact that she is a part-time student, and does not pay activity fees herself and has not fully completed the responsibilities of an SGA treasurer.

A special meeting was been called of the stipend review committee, which is responsible for overseeing the granting of stipends each semester, for Tuesday, March 31.

According to sources within the SGA, it was expected that the meeting was called in order to reverse the decision and to pressure certain senators to grant Liudvinaitis the full stipend.

According to one senator, the Student Activities and Leadership Development Office and the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs, who has the power to reverse Senate decisions, would both like the Senate to reverse their decision.

In the process where all senators who are full-time students are eligible to receive a stipend each semester, varying between $400 and $1400, Liudvinaitis had petitioned the Senate to grant her the full treasurer stipend of $1,000 per semester.

As of the March 18 SGA meeting, Liudvinaitis was denied the full stipend by the SGA stipend review committee and the full Senate, but the Senate said that she would be eligible for the $400. The SGA cited her standing as a part-time student and her duties as finance committee chair as the reasons.

The debate over whether Liudvinaitis should receive a stipend for her duties stemmed from the Dec. 10 meeting of the SGA at which she was appointed to finance committee chair by President Alexander Estrom and then voted in by a simple majority of the Senate.

Following the appointment of Liudvinaitis, questions arose regarding her stipend payment, to which SGA President Alexander Estrom responded that it would be at the discretion of the SGA stipend review committee.

In an open letter to the Senate, asking that she be granted the full stipend, Liudvinaitis claimed she has fulfilled the duties of both an SGA Treasurer and senator, which means chairing the finance committee meetings, maintaining the financial responsibilities of the SGA and consistently served five office hours a week.

According to the SGA’s constitution, as the document that defines membership and eligibility, only full-time students qualify to be a senator and to receive a stipend. But SGA senators have said that Liudvinaitis was elected through a loophole as an at-large senator without clear restrictions on eligibility.
Restrictions on treasurer also dictate that, “the Student Treasurer of Central Connecticut State University shall be a fulltime undergraduate student at Central Connecticut State University.”

SGA Senator, Peter Krol believes that senator Liudvinaitis was merely “elected as chair of finance committee, nowhere does it say she’s treasurer.

“We voted her in as chair of finance committee; in no way did we vote her treasurer,” he said.

Liudvinaitis said that she fulfilled the responsibilities of the treasurer position and should be granted the money.

“The $1000 is what I deserve, given the jobs and tasks which I have completed and am completing,” said Liudvinaitis. “If you are doing the job, you should get the money regardless of the title.”

SALD’s Associate Director Susan Sweeney believes that the CCSU university administration was happy to accept Liudvinaitis as the treasurer, despite her part-time status.

She said the university allowed latitude by allowing her to be a part of the Senate. Sweeney added that the university felt it was making a responsible decision by following the SGA lead, which appeared to be to appoint senator Liudvinaitis as acting interim treasurer.

Sweeney felt that the senators are going back on their word if they deny Liudvinaitis her full stipend, as they passed the motion to appoint her acting interim treasurer and also passed the minutes to approve the motion.