Letters to the Editor

Letter: Compensated committee work

By
Monday, February 29, 2016

To the Editor:

Last December, Brown decided to fund paid student research assistantships to support the work of two university committees — the Mental Health Community Council and the Title IX Oversight and Advisory Board. The Feb. 26 article titled “Brown launches funding pilot for student committee members” unfortunately misstated a number of details about the intent and implementation of this pilot.

The intent of this initiative is not to compensate students for the customary contributions that are involved with voluntary committee service, but rather to support research that furthers the work of the committees in the pilot. This approach reflects the model of existing research opportunities for Brown’s Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies.

Undergraduate and graduate students who perform research for a committee will do so as University employees, and they may or may not be members of the committee. With appropriate oversight from a staff member on the committee, students will be paid by the hour, not a stipend. While a student may be able to a suggest project, the chair of the committee will have final approval over what is needed to support the work of the committee. This pilot will be evaluated at the end of the semester.

Brown’s administration would have welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the reporter’s article, given that this initiative is being administered by the University this semester.

University committees serve an essential role in advancing Brown’s mission, and research support for the MHCC and the Title IX Oversight and Advisory Board will meet the research needs identified by these two university committees to help meet their objectives.

Marguerite Joutz ’15

Assistant to the President for Student Affairs and Special Projects