President's perspective: University employees deserve pay increase

If a person should be paid $5.65 an hour she knows it. If she is paid $5.15 it cost the employer a hundred times in sabotage. She will feel cheated. She won't go the extra inch, won't work the extra hour, and may not provide the needed smile and courtesy that could cost our university thousands of dollars.

The student wage concern has been bubbling for many months now. With the expected tuition increase and stagnant student pay this concern is even more warranted. We need an aggressive increase that raises the minimum wage and allows departments and organizations to compete for the best students by eliminating the salary cap (the university's policy that prevents students from being paid more than $5.15).

The university should be paying all of its employees - faculty, staff and students more than they deserve to encourage them to perform beyond their expected job requirements. If a person should be paid $5.65, pay her $5.75. You will get much more production than the extra $.10 it will cost you because the person will stretch to justify the confidence that has been placed in her. Ball State should be investing in its employees and providing opportunities that will enhance the university's mission.

Many times employers don't understand this. They think they are keeping their costs down to save money. They think people should be happy to have a job in the first place. They believe people aren't worth their pay. They are wrong. You can't cut "people cost" and save money. People are an asset, a return on an investment.

The student employees in the admissions office are the "face of Ball State." They give daily tours, answer the questions of prospective students, and are the first people new recruits meet when they enter Ball State These student employees make millions of dollars for the university, but their first impressions are worth $5.15 an hour. It is time we invest in our people.

I have a lot of respect for the student employees in parking and dining service. The work they do is not the most glamorous and for a paycheck they are forced to brave the elements- the weather for the parking cadets and the grease and hairnets for the dining service employees. They are fulfilling a need that I could not, but I thank them everyday for being there. Another reason I respect those students is because their jobs are difficult for the university to fill. When there are not enough students to work at $5.15 an hour the same positions are opened to community members who are paid, in some cases, up to $7.00 an hour. Is this fair that the university is telling these parking and dining service workers that their jobs are worth $7.00 an hour, but they are going to be paid $5.15? The salary cap needs to be eliminated.

There are many reasons the minimum wage needs to be increased - there is no incentive for students to take on more challenging positions that will enhance their classroom work, student supervisors are paid as much as those they supervise, students will remain in positions longer decreasing the training costs, and the list goes on and on.

As students we know when we are under paid. In some cases we feel cheated, don't go the extra inch, nor provide the "$4000 smile" that will make one of the hardest decisions of a high school student's life a little bit easier. Ball State, our student employees, faculty, and staff are valuable assets. It is time we invest in them and improve the efficiency and productivity of our university.

Write to Tommy at tbrector@bsu.edu


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