Dear Members of Miami University Students for Staff,
Thank you for contacting me about Students for Staff at Miami University of Ohio. While I do not feel it is appropriate to endorse the efforts of a non-governmental body like yours, I do believe strongly in the mission you shared with me in your letter.
It is unacceptable that individuals caring for our university students are struggling to stay above the poverty line. I applaud your efforts to bring undergraduate students, graduate students, university alumni, and staff together to promote broad-based access to a living wage.
Your commitment to improving working conditions and the lives of workers is admirable. We must continue to push for a living wage for all of America’s hardworking men and women.
Entries from February 2008 ↓
An automatic insulin pump would be enough to prevent these incidents from ever happening again. She and her doctors are trying to get the pump covered through Miami’s insurance, but she’s been told it will likely be denied. The “market-competitive wages” from the “employer of choice” aren’t enough that she can afford the device herself. Even with the addition of a second job, she is still forced to choose between her proper medication and other basic necessities. These are the realities at the heart of our demand for a living wage.
Nevertheless, the university’s response to our concerns has been consistently clear: “not now, not here.” Most recently, at ASG’s Annual State of the Student Body Address, President Hodge said he was disappointed in us for bringing up “our” issue at yet another public forum. This comment followed a speech in which President Hodge commended students for embracing the issues that confront Oxford as a community. In response, we would like to inform President Hodge that poverty is a community issue, and, as community leaders, President Hodge and the administration have the responsibility to pay Miami’s hard-working staff what they deserve, not as little as Miami can get away with. Furthermore, the entire student body was invited to this event and encouraged to ask questions. It reflects poorly on our president’s commitment to community if one of the few student organizations that cared enough to come to the event was denigrated and condemned for voicing community concerns. We would like to inform President Hodge that community must emerge from collaboration and dialog; it doesn’t appear overnight with the construction of an $80 million bicentennial student center.
It is practically impossible to muster the excitement and enthusiasm President Hodge invoked in his discussion of plans for the bicentennial student center when you remember the full-time Miami staff who must live in extreme frugality because Miami refuses to pay them a fair wage.
If students’ concerns for local poverty and economic justice are consistently unwelcome at student forums and events, when and where will community finally be realized at Miami?