Honorarium is a payment given for professional services that are rendered nominally without charge (Oxford English Dictionary)
This policy applies only to honorariums and not to board, lodging, travel or other related costs
SFC may choose to allocate beyond the caps mentioned in this policy
Please get in touch with Tina Zwegat at the Student Union Office re: contract negotiation
Negotiation of Contracts
1. Overview The SFC will follow this policy when determining how to fund honorariums for speakers, performers, and other visitors to Oberlin College, during both the Ad Hoc and Spring Allocation processes. This policy applies only to honorariums; other common components of speaker compensation, such as lodging, food, and transportation, are covered in the SFC Pricing Guide.
When considering allocations for honorariums, the SFC will consider the following factors, in addition to adhering to the guidelines of this policy: expected attendance at the event, accessibility of the event to the student body, level of interest on campus about the subject, the uniqueness of the event, and the level of honorariums paid by academic departments for similar events (in the case of academic speakers).
For the purposes of this policy, speakers are divided into two broad categories: Academic, and Non-Academic.
Academic speakers are those who hold a position at an institution of higher education; or, speakers who are brought to Oberlin in order to lecture or hold a workshop/seminar with an educational intent. For example, scholars, politicians, or activists all fall within this category
Non-Academic speakers are those individuals or groups brought to Oberlin to perform or hold an organized event with aesthetic rather than educational purposes. For example, musical or dance groups, poets, or writers all fall within this category.
When planning to pay speakers for their service, it is important to note that checks are cut by the Controller’s Office on Wednesday afternoon each week.
2. Academic Speakers For academic speakers, as defined above, the following caps apply to honorariums. These are upper bounds for funding, and should act as guidelines in negotiating honorariums with potential speakers. However, the SFC is under no obligation to fund these full amounts.
Graduate student or recent alum: $300
Assistant or Associate Professor: $500
Full Professor: $1,000
These caps are for a single speaker for a single event. An honorarium paid to a single speaker for multipleevents over the course of multiple days shall be based on the caps for single events, while taking into account the nature and timing of the events. The SFC recognizes that some speakers are of such prominence as to require a high honorarium, exceeding the caps outlined in this policy. Organizations may request that a particular speaker receive an honorarium that is higher than the normal cap. The SFC will in no case allocate a sum higher than the above guidelines unless the following conditions are met:
The petitioning organization has been in contact with the proposed speaker, and the speaker has expressed his or her willingness to come to Oberlin.
The speaker has requested an honorarium that is higher than this policy normally allows, and efforts to negotiate a lower honorarium have failed.
The organization obtains the written endorsement of a chair of an appropriate College academic department (in the form of either an attached email or a written and signed letter), which affirms that a specific honorarium figure befits the rank, stature, or prominence of the proposed speaker.
The Committee strongly recommends that all organizations or individuals hoping to invite speakers to Oberlin consult the relevant academic departments as early as possible to determine a suitable honorarium and seek endorsement if necessary.
3. Non-Academic Speakers For non-academic speakers, as defined above, the following caps will apply to honorariums. Under this definition, a band or group of performers will be considered the equivalent of a single speaker/performer.
General cap for a non-academic speaker/performer: $2,000. The Committee may decide to allocate a lower honorarium if it deems it suitable for the speaker/performer being invited. The SFC recognizes that some non-academic speakers or performers will sometimes warrant a larger honorarium, due to their fame or prominence. Organizations may request that a particular speaker or performer receive an honorarium that is higher than the normal cap. The SFC will in no case allocate a sum higher than the above cap unless the following conditions are met:
The petitioning organization has been in contact with the proposed speaker/performer, and the speaker/performer has expressed his or her willingness to come to Oberlin.
The speaker/performer has requested an honorarium that is higher than this policy normally allows, and efforts to negotiate a lower honorarium have failed.
The organization obtains the written endorsement of the Associate Director of the Oberlin College Student Union (currently Tina Zwegat) affirms that a specific honorarium figure is appropriate for the proposed speaker/performer. Such an endorsement must be attached to the budget in which the honorarium is requested.
4. Student Performers
Student performers seeking a degree from the Conservatory may be paid up to $50 an hour to perform. SFC will only review budgets requests for active performance times. Active performance time does not include time where students are not performing.
Student performers who are not seeking a degree from the Conservatory may be paid up to $50 an hour to perform only in special circumstances; the SFC will consider the following criteria when evaluating a proposal to pay a non-Conservatory performer:
Professional repertoire: Students with a robust musical repertoire (previous albums, performances, teaching experience, etc.) are potentially eligible for compensation.
Scope of event: Students who expect their event to draw a wide audience are potentially eligible for compensation.
Community engagement: Students whose performances support a diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative or a fundraiser on campus are potentially eligible for compensation.
Rates for student performers to perform are not to exceed $50 an hour. Student performers may also be allocated one (1) dress rehearsal of reasonable length at a rate of $10 an hour.
5. Negotiation of Contracts The Committee strongly recommends that organizations contact the Student Union well in advance of the scheduled event in order to gain assistance in negotiating and determining an appropriate honorarium, and to receive the written endorsement, if necessary.
If an honorarium has not been negotiated through the Student Union prior to a budget being brought before the Committee, it will be evaluated at the maximum amount the Committee determines to be adequate. The Associate Director of the Oberlin College Student Union (currently Tina Zwegat) will then be notified to negotiate the honorarium at or below the amount specified. Funds will not be dispersed until a contract with the speaker/performer has been finalized, via the Student Union.
SFC is a 7 member student board working to equitably allocate the Student Activity Fund to all Oberlin student organizations and individual student projects. OST is the sister organization handling form processing, confirming allocations, and requests for payment/purchasing cards. SFC and OST members meet multiple times a week to review budgets, vote on allocations, and vote and discuss policy, lead working groups with student organizations, and hold office hours to serve as a counselor for students seeking guidance about funding and student government.