Shot in the back

Julio Rodriguez
Creative Editor

The Hudsonian has been experiencing a compensation issue which has caused stress, confusion and uncertainty among members. As a result, the situation has jeopardized the future productivity of the Hudsonian.

“We have just flourished, and this is the first year we have a completely full editorial board as well as writers,” said Editor-in-chief Rebecca Jordan. “So we’re doing great, but slowly over time, we are going to see people drop off, and they’re going to have less motivation to participate.”

During the past academic year, the Student Senate constitution was amended to include the following clause: “No student shall be compensated beyond what they pay in tuition.” This year, this wording resulted in the withholding of checks from three members of the Hudsonian on the grounds that these members received full tuition assistance.

The amendment was implemented to prevent students from getting more compensation from their work for a club than they were paying to the institution. However, the revision also affects the eligibility for those with full-tuition assistance to receive compensation for any of the work they provide.

Director of Student Life Louis Coplin said, “Well, based on what I’m hearing, I think the movement is to eliminate compensation all together. In response to the term and question of equity that is what [Student Senate] is leaning towards.”

The Student Senate has been discussing the total elimination of compensation for years, and this year’s Senate e-board is no exception. Jordan believes an elimination of compensation could potentially cripple the productivity of the Hudsonian.

“When you take the amount of time you could be using on a job to support yourself, it’s just not really practical [to keep working for the Hudsonian]. So I don’t think anyone is really going to want to put in the time for nothing,” said Jordan.

Managing Editor Jenny Caulfield believes the change will take a toll on the efficient and thorough product that the Hudsonian has developed over the years of its existence.

Caulfield said, “At this point we’re a national award-winning paper when we go to [College Media Association] conferences. That is something that wouldn’t have happened 10 or 20 years ago if you want to go back to when we didn’t have compensation. We had a paper, but it was not to the level that it is now; it was not nearly as informative.”

Jordan has shown concern with the handling of the situation by the organization which is designated to serve the students of Hudson Valley. “I’m disappointed in the way that the Student Senate decided to handle this. We’ve been without an answer for three weeks. We didn’t know whether financial aid was going to be a factor because they were still up in the air.”

The issue of equality has arisen in recent weeks. The Student Senate believes that equality should be applied to all clubs, so they believe the compensation of students is unjust.
Jordan said, “Yes I understand we are a club, however do I think we should we be defined as a club? Absolutely not. We’re more of an organization; we work differently. What we’re doing is providing a service to the campus. We are basically ‘selling’ a product to the students in the form of a newspaper.”

The members of the Hudsonian, and the members of the Student Senate e-board differ greatly in their view of student compensation.

“Any other club does the same amount of work, and it’s the opportunity cost of a student to decide ‘Do I want to be involved in a club because I love it, or do I want to apply for a part time or full time job because I need the money,’” said Student Senate vice president Stephen Pelletier.

Hudsonian members believe that the work they provide to campus is far beyond the typical work done by other clubs.

“Every Sunday, I come in everyday, and I spend 12 to 16 hours assembling the newspaper. I come in the next morning, and for another two to three hours take criticism, and on the fly take corrections to every document to send it off by noon on Monday,” said layout editor Mike Schaefer.

“I am a fine arts student. When you say that a lot of people think, ‘Oh you don’t have any written finals, so your life’s not hard.’ I get to school at 7:30 in the morning and leave at midnight almost everyday,” said Jordan.

Many students have responsibilities outside of the Hudsonian, and the practicality of staying without compensation could hurt these members’ financial well being.

“I honestly have no time in my life, and I could be putting the time that I put towards the Hudsonian into a job. I’m not having enough hours at my work to support myself financially at this point,” said Jordan.

Photo Editor Mikey Bryant believes the two organizations should continue to receive compensation because of the unique nature of their work that they do for the campus community.

“I feel that the Hudsonian and the Senate both offer unique services to the college. Us with a newsroom which operates similarly to an actual newsroom in the real world, and the Senate in that they are the government of the school. I feel that compensation is ethically right for both groups,” said Bryant.

Student Senate President Emma Dillon believes the change will initially affect the paper, but that interest will return with due time.

“I think at first it might be a little hard for the paper, but then it is going to reopen those positions to students who really genuinely feel passionately about writing. I do believe there are tons of members right now who do feel passionately about writing, don’t get me wrong. But it will open up those positions to people who really want them,” said Dillon.

Many of the members of the Hudsonian who have been affected by the financial aid stipulation would not necessarily agree with Dillon on her stance. “We have an interesting community in [the Hudsonian] newsroom where not only do we get our work done, but we also have the ability to bond with each other and form a family with the members of this club,” said Bryant.

Bryant continued, “However, I can see a lot of new people who would join the Hudsonian without that connection. To provide compensation to those members would provide them with an incentive to not only get their work done, but interacting with us and building up those bonds will strengthen the newsroom.”

Caulfield believes the logistics behind the decision eliminate compensation is somewhat contradictory.

“They feel we should not get compensated because we are a club. Senators shouldn’t get compensated either. The only thing that is strange about that is that it sort of bounces against their argument. Student senate is not a club, they are a student government,” said Caulfield.

Student Senate secretary Manik Elahi Shibata believes that the tuition reimbursement of Student Senate e-board positions is necessary because of their direct interest and work with the student body.

Shibata said, “Everyone has a say on whether I get this position or not. There are people running against each other in the sense that folks who vote know what they’re getting into. I can’t say this enough, these are the only four positions on campus which can be occupied by students which is open to the critique and direct say by any student on campus.”

The true representation and constituency of the student senate only accounts for a small percentage of the entire student body.

Student government positions are voted in by students of the college, however there is a lacking number of votership in Student Senate elections. According to election results, the voting rate during the past academic year only accounted for a little under four percent of the entire student body population.

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