In light of the recent disclosure of the salaries of the Goodrich student manager, we are disturbed by the inconsistency in the College’s policy on student employment. In supporting and/or allowing the passage of the Goodrich manager’s proposed $4025 yearly salary, College Council and the Dean’s Office have shown a disappointing lack of foresight. Although it may not have been intended, the result is a thoughtless and insulting treatment of the financial aid system and the students who subscribe to it.
The salary for the managerial position exceeds the earnings cap for upper class financial-aid students by $2325. In essence, future managers stand to make more than twice the sum that any student on work-study is even permitted to earn. Claims made by some College Council members that the manager’s salary amounts to less per hour than the $7 rate for student managers miss the heart of the matter.
The heart of the matter is that Williams’ financial aid system is one which must be addressed with care and discretion. Its goal must be to provide for students who need the fiscal support: to this end, salary caps are useful insofar as they keep students on a relatively even playing field.
The $4025 salary spits on this proverbial playing field. In awarding the student manager large salary, those whose job it is to enforce the standards of the financial aid policy have chosen to conveniently circumvent their own tract. It is unfair to tell a dining hall supervisor or a teaching assistant that he or she cannot work more than a certain number of hours per week in order to stay under the cap, and simultaneously point to the extended hours worked by the Goodrich managers as justification for their inflated salaries.
Director of Financial Aid Philip Wick noted that “the managers of Goodrich have taken on a level of responsibility that no other Williams student has. They have to make their own decisions.” Furthermore, Wick tells us that “nothing is fair.” Perhaps the Goodrich managers have taken on a new level of responsibility. If so, it is only because through its earnings cap, the school has heretofore forbidden student employees from assuming such responsibility. If exceptions are to be made in this earnings cap, when, where and for whom are such exceptions justified? Granted, “nothing is fair,” but are we to believe that the Director of Financial Aid does not even aspire to create as perfect and fair a system as possible?