U of M Faculty Supports $15 for Student Workers
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Dear President Kaler and the Board of Regents,
As faculty members of the University of Minnesota, we are writing to you in support of a $15/hour minimum wage for student workers on campus. These students staff our dining halls, shelve our libraries, take care of the campus lawns, and work in our departments; almost every function of this University includes student labor. The University of Minnesota would not run without them.
In our classrooms, we routinely see students who are stressed, tired, and struggling to get by. Many are juggling more than one job, school work, loans, and still are not able to afford rent and food. According to a 2015 Boynton Health survey, “about 17 percent of University students worry about buying enough food before their money runs out, and 10 percent report food shortages.” (Chao, Minnesota Daily). Poverty wages are impeding students' ability to focus on learning and this is unacceptable.
We believe it is in the University of Minnesota’s best interest to pay student workers a living wage, and that our official mission statement supports this. The mission states that in all of its activities, the University of Minnesota “...is conscious of and responsive to the needs of the many communities it is committed to serving; and inspires, sets high expectations for and empowers the individuals within its community.” In order for this mission to be actualized, the University needs to be responsive to the needs of its student employees and pay a fair wage.
We call upon the University of Minnesota to make the necessary budgetary shifts to prioritize a living wage of $15 an hour for student workers. The city of Minneapolis recently passed a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour for all workers, proving that this is the minimum amount needed to live in Minneapolis. We believe that the University's values are in line with this increase.
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