With over 1,100 positions available (though some hold more than one position), student laborers make up a sizable portion of Kenyon. Yet even with the 3 percent pay raise (see: “Three percent pay raise offset by frustration with wage levels” p. 1), students are largely dissatisfied with the wages they currently earn. To this end, we urge the reinstatement of the Student Employment Task Force, so that students can better leverage their collective bargaining power to end the unfair treatment of student workers.
The Student Employment Task Force, now disbanded, was a committee originally made to examine the state of student labor and wages on campus.
The College routinely uses students for positions for which they may not want to pay a professional. In some cases, once a student becomes employed by the College, they’re told that there is only enough money to pay for a certain amount of hours per week, and this amount is rarely enough to finish the job on time. While students interviewed in our piece agreed that not all positions must be paid like a professional, the discrepancy between labor and compensation is too large to go unchanged.
This problem is further aggravated by matters of class. Many students who work for Kenyon do so not for extra spending money, but for work-study or personal financial need. This allows the College to use worker precarity to gain unfair amounts of power over the laboring student body.
As it stood before, the Student Employment Task Force was an ad-hoc committee that acted from an advisory standpoint. We suggest that this new committee be made into an official body of both students and members of the administration with real power to change worker compensation. Kenyon should value all work students do on the Hill — not just what’s done in the classroom.
The staff editorial is written weekly by editors-in-chief Cameron Messinides ’19 and Devon Musgrave-Johnson ’19, managing editor Grant Miner ’19 and executive director Matt Mandel ’19. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, respectively.