Section: Editorial

Staff editorial: K-SWOC’s efforts are essential to protecting student employee rights

Dear Kenyon community, We, the executive staff members of the Kenyon Collegian, wish to express our support for the efforts of the Kenyon Student Worker Organizing Committee (K-SWOC).

Kenyon’s student workers are among the College’s most hardworking and dedicated students. We believe that Kenyon should demonstrate support for all that these students do for the community by officially recognizing K-SWOC. This is the right thing to do, not only because student workers should be sufficiently compensated as well as protected in the workplace, but also because it is the Kenyon way. The College prides itself on its personal and dedicated care for its students, faculty, staff and their families. K-SWOC has provided Kenyon with an opportunity to finally address students’ concerns by backing a part of the College community that is asking not only for recognition, but for active support, too.

Student workers’ positive impact on the day-to-day operations of the College is abundantly clear. From the Bookstore’s student employees who make textbook buying run smoothly to the tech gurus at Helpline, it’s safe to say that the College would encounter bumps in the road at every turn if not for student employees. To deny these employees the resources and support they need to do their jobs in a supportive and safe environment is not only unappreciative, but goes against the College’s best interests.

K-SWOC’s list of demands includes a call for the abolition of the tiered payment system, which categorizes student jobs into payment levels based on skill set. As the system currently stands, the requirements for each tier are baseless, leaving many students underpaid. By using this system, the College has pitted students against each other, disrupting the sense of close knit community that is so important to Kenyon’s self-identity. Such a system also serves to value some jobs more than others, which, at a liberal arts college like Kenyon, goes against the very notion that these institutions are places where students are encouraged to take risks and try new things.

These are all time-consuming jobs, all of which teach students important lessons about the workplace that they can take forward into their future careers. K-SWOC’s movement is about much more than whether students should have a say in their pay (which they should) — it is about a fundamental failure on behalf of the administration to not only hear students, but make the changes we have asked for.

The staff editorial is written weekly by editors in-chief Mae Hunt ’21 and Evey Weisblat ’21, managing editor Sophie Krichevsky ’21 and executive director Elizabeth Stanley ’21. You can contact them at hunt1@kenyon.edu, weisblat1@kenyon.edu, krichevsky1@kenyon.edu and stanley2@ kenyon.edu, respectively.

Evey Weisblat ’21 did not contribute to the staff editorial due to her reporting on the subject.

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