Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Release Wage Statistics

Last Wednesday, Department of Public Safety officers forcibly restrained students from entering a closed-door meeting of the Advisory Committee on Business Practices. With this scuffle, a contentious campus debate on the living wage resurfaced. Members of the Living Wage Coalition argue that the university is not fulfilling the terms of the Just Employment Policy announced last spring; the university maintains that, in fact, it is.

It is a “he said, she said” quarrel in which both sides’ arguments are right, depending on which numbers are used to calculate wages.

From our perspective, both sides are equally wrong in the methods they employ to pursue their goals. The university is too reluctant to open its proceedings to the public, and the Living Wage Coalition only responds with unnecessarily aggressive tactics.

This case highlights the need for increased transparency at Georgetown. Administrators should release a detailed breakdown of subcontracted employees’ wages and benefits. Georgetown cannot sit back and expect members of the Living Wage Coalition, who have pushed hard for increased wages for workers, to simply trust that changes are being implemented.

After the mutual agreement reached last spring, the university owes it to coalition members to provide comprehensive information about the changes they demanded.

If the university wants to avoid further skirmishes it must be upfront and direct. It must release clear information about how it is defining a living wage and how it plans to implement it across campus.

Doing so would bolster the trust that the entire student body has in the administration. When students witness events like they did last week, it only widens the rift between them and the administration.

We applaud the goals of the Living Wage Coalition. But we increasingly take issue with its methods. Barging into closed-door meetings will not bolster Georgetown’s openness. In fact, it will likely have the opposite effect. Such forceful and dramatic action has become tiresome and seems immature to the rest of the student body. General interest in the group’s mission is waning as it seems that its members are just using any excuse to protest.

The coalition must work to find practical and effective means of communication with the administration, or risk making them ever more distant. The coalition must also accept that in any large-scale change, compromise will most likely be involved. Grandiose changes are rarely made in one sweeping move. Persuading Georgetown to recognize a commitment to a living wage was a huge step, but battles must be chosen wisely.

On both sides of the living wage issue there is clearly room for improvement. There is no excuse for communication between students and administrators at this esteemed institution to be reduced to physical restraint and bleeding noses.

Each party must recognize the potentially dire consequences of further detachment between students and administration. And each must do their part to build open and trusted lines of communication that will benefit future generations of Hoyas who want to work for positive change at their school.

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