Student workers limited to two departments

As the 2019–2020 school year started, a new policy came into effect that campus is still working through: students working on campus can only work in two departments. This policy change comes from the Human Resources department (HR) as part of a transition to streamline the entirety of the student worker process and create a more equal opportunity for the whole student body.

Kari Fluckey, director of human resources, said this transition is the next step in an ongoing two-year change for the entire student worker experience. HR started by making sure students filled out timecards on by the two-week payroll deadline. Then last fall, HR did a soft launch program of campus job listings on the Hastings College website for students to formally apply. This was done to make a greater number of students aware of available positions.

Last spring, Fluckey started working with HC President Travis Feezell to examine whether or not all students had equal opportunities to work on campus. Along with the goal of equal opportunity, they are trying to make on-campus jobs reflect real life experience as much as possible and give students skill sets that they need for a career. 

On Aug. 13, a campus-wide email explaining the process to become a student worker included a paragraph titled “Defining a student worker.” That paragraph included the sentence, “In most cases,student workers will be limited to working in no more than two (2) departments.” Students listed under more than two departments then received a follow-up email on Aug. 28, saying they had to pick two departments to continue working in. Until a couple weeks ago, faculty and staff were unaware of the policy until they were informed by students who had to choose between departments.

For Chris Schukei, dean of admissions, this poses a problem in planning who will give tours to prospective students. Schukei has officially lost two tour guides, with 10 or 11 still deciding on their departments. Admissions has covered the necessary work so far, but as they are in a busy season of recruiting, there is concern about the future.

“We do a full training before school starts so it’s not even really an option for us to bring on students mid-year. There’s a whole interview process in the spring… and then we do the training before school even starts,” Schukei said.

In the Office of Marketing and Communications, Jeniffer Beahm, communications manager, is struggling to recruit students for the social media team. Beahm listed 16 students from last year’s team and new recruits, but currently only has five students due to the policy. She tried once to get an exception for a student to have three departments, but it 
was denied. 

“I just feel like there are some positions on campus that we can’t plan on students receiving a set amount of hours, but we still benefit from their help. So I canunderstand how students would have three jobs if they are doing three little jobs on campus,” Beahm said.

According to Schukei, the Admissions department is working with HR to possibly come to an agreement for on-campus jobs that may be excluded from the policy.

“The average tour guide works two to three hours a week, so it’s not a job that anybody is making a lot of money off of. If you are forced to choose between something you know that is going to give you 12-15 hours a week, I don’t blame anybody for saying, ‘You know what, I need something that is going to give me more consistent hours’… and we are losing on that,” Schukei said.

Schukei and Beahm both stated that they do understand the rationale behind the decision, saying that the intentions are good.

There are currently 251 students working on campus. The decision to let students work in three departments is currently being made on a case-by-case basis, with the number of students in three departments hovering around 15 at the time of publication.

“The basic idea here is to spread the possibility of work on campus to a broader group of students. We also know that this can’t be a blanket policy because there will be work that has a particular need or that there may be students who, because of financial circumstances, may need more work rather than less. In both cases, we want to have a mechanism where there can be a conversation or an appeal to meet that special need,” Feezell said.