Opinion: W&L cuts hurt university too

Graphic by Kelby Lorenz

Tyler Tousley | Opinions Editor
From Print [September 1, 2015] | Legacy

When I toured Lindenwood three years ago, my guide told me about an awesome program that allowed students to work for the school to get money knocked off their room and board costs. This made affording college much more realistic and was part of the reason I chose Lindenwood. Another plus was that it would give me work experience. I couldn’t wait.

Fast forward to this semester: I have a Work and Learn – and editor for the student newspaper –that I love. In addition to experience, it has given me a portfolio I can show potential employers. But now the program is changing. The university is turning us into employees who even have to fill out tax forms for our jobs on campus. After meeting with those in charge of my Work and Learn and reading the email sent out by the university, I realize the changes are even bigger. The program will be slashed to 1,500 students from 4,000. That’s a 62.5 percent decrease.

Graphic by Kelby Lorenz
Graphic by Kelby Lorenz

The school will make the cuts in a variety of ways:
• If workers are late turning in their time sheets twice, they are out of the program.
• If workers do not put in at least 90 percent of their hours, they are out of the program.
• If workers log over 20 hours a week three times, they are out of the program.
When a student is cut, they cannot get back into the Student Worker Program.

The university says that the changes in the program were made so it would meet federal and state guidelines. But in an interview with the Legacy, the coordinator of the program, Eric Mircsov, said: “We are trying to limit it down to the actually good employees doing the jobs.”
Those in charge of the program have since clarified that the university does not view its students as having poor work ethics, but I still wonder about the motives behind this change.

While I am sure some students are not doing their jobs, I am also sure it is nowhere near 62.5 percent. This is a major game changer for students. Many will be cut completely from the program, so they will have to make up another $1,200 each semester. Most of us already are drowning in student loan debt. Whatever the real intentions of the university, the changes are sure to have a negative impact on its recruiting efforts and in its retention of students.

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