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A majority of Kenyon College community advisers, also known as residential advisers, have launched an indefinite strike over unfair labor practices, the Kenyon Student Worker Organizing Committee announced Monday.

Seventeen out of 33 community advisers went on strike after the college announced in January it will change compensation for the position from a wage system to a stipend of $10,000 a year for the 2022–23 academic year, Kenyon College said in a statement. Students said the move would declassify them from their status as statutory employees under the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act. Additionally, students said that under the change they would not be eligible for minimum wage or overtime regulations, and they wouldn’t be able to unionize. The Kenyon Student Worker Organizing Committee on Sunday filed an unfair labor practice charge with Region 8 of the National Labor Relations Board regarding the change.

“This is an attack not only on our labor rights, but the rights of every student worker,” the Kenyon Student Worker Organizing Committee tweeted. “If the administration can succeed in taking away our labor rights, they can do the same to every worker on this campus and beyond.”

A Kenyon College spokesperson said the return to the stipend model of payment for CAs was made because the college believes it “better reflects the leadership opportunity that the CA role represents. The relationship CAs have with the College does not change, just the method of payment.” The spokesperson said the college received a record number of CA applications after the announcement of the payment change.

“While some student workers may be engaging in a strike, our goal remains to ensure that all students, including striking students, continue to receive an excellent education and enjoy the many resources Kenyon provides its students, without retaliation or discrimination,” Kenyon College said in a statement.

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