The coronavirus has made lives difficult for a lot of people this year and created a lot of confusion. One of the many questions during this time is what will happen to on-campus student employees?
On Monday, March 16, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Liesl Folks and Dean of Students Kendal Washington White held a Facebook Live where they said that they had set a goal to not have University of Arizona student employees go without pay.
Folks said in a Zoom interview that she and other UA administration decided that this was an important goal to have because if student employees have to worry about income then they will most likely struggle with grades because of it.
“The plan is to sustain their wages as they were before the pandemic, through the pandemic until the end of the semester,” Folks said.
Folks said that many student employees have now been doing jobs that have been adapted to be done from home, such as taking phone calls for departments.
Folks said that for student workers who did jobs such as serving food at the Student Union Memorial Center, there is not a stay-at-home alternative for their work. She said those workers would still be financially supported for the rest of this spring semester.
“We felt unambiguously that the right thing to do for the institution was to assure our student workers that their pay would not be impacted, whether or not they were able to switch to work from home,” Folks said.
According to Folks, the UA has worked to adapt student research to be done from homes as well. This includes data research, research paper writing and book editing.
Helena Rodrigues, the chief human resources officer, said in the same Zoom interview that student workers should expect to be treated the same as they were, or at least similarly to how they were before the pandemic, or they can report the discrepancy to human resources.
Rodrigues said that if a student worker did not have predictable weekly hours, they are working on making sure those employees still have a sustainable income; so, she said they will look back a month and average their hours.
Folks said that the financial support will go to all student workers and there will be no “carveouts.”
Folks said that the UA has contingency funds in every department for emergencies such as the coronavirus pandemic, and some of those funds will be used to pay student employees.
According to Folks, non-student UA employees will also be financially supported during this time since “the same rules are being applied to all of our employees."
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