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JMCSS releases statement of condemnation against MSU RHS, demands rehire and apology

September 25, 2020
<p>Courtesy photo of a banner displaying the words &quot;protect student workers&quot; on campus Thursday, Sept. 24, provided by the Spartan Solidarity Network.</p>

Courtesy photo of a banner displaying the words "protect student workers" on campus Thursday, Sept. 24, provided by the Spartan Solidarity Network.

James Madison College Student Senate released a statement Friday, criticizing Michigan State University Residential and Hospitality Services, or RHS, for furloughing more than 700 student employees on short notice this week.

The statement — accompanied by signatures of support from 14 student groups — demands the university to rehire all of the employees affected, as well as formally apologize to them.

"The Michigan State University administration knowingly put the livelihoods of over 700 student workers at risk with little to no effective communication in the midst of a global pandemic, online learning, and a nation-wide financial crisis," the statement said. "MSU has failed to properly provide adequate assistance to its now -former student employees including international students, who, as made clear by University policy, may not seek employment within the United States outside of MSU unless approval has been granted."

The statement claimed that the university was well aware of their fiscal budget for the Fall 2020 semester before September, all while directing RHS student workers to perform all tasks for on-campus move-in before exhausting students of their labor and liquidating them for University profit.

"We demand the university move to fully re-hire all RHS employees, as well as bolster their support for our work-study, and international student peers," the statement said. "And, further be it we also demand a meaningful written public apology to all of our incredibly dedicated and hardworking classmates integral to making Michigan State University our home."

Social Relations and Policy Caucus Chair Madison Nacker co-wrote the statement with Sen. Jack Wheatley hoping the release of this statement will spark change.

“I’m hoping that (the university) will be receptive,” Nacker said. “They had to know that they would receive some feedback from students after letting go some of these (student employees).”

Sen. Jack Wheatley wanted to bring attention to this subject as a way to support student employees.

“I think that it’s really important, especially on our campus where we have a large record of the administration not seeking the interests of the students and the faculty and the staff,” Wheatley said.

Wheatley is also a chairman of the Spartan Solidarity Network, one of the groups that signed in support.

“In the Senate, it’s just a document saying that we condemned them,” Wheatley said. “But when it comes to action, when it comes to seeking a change within the university, that’s where I think the behavior of the Spartan Solidarity Network comes into play.”

The Senate tries to represent students’ interests. After the statement, student groups across campus are taking action. Abii-Tah Bih, President of the Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU), gauged the response of the group yesterday.

“I brought this up to the General Assembly last night, the ASMSU General Assembly, and a lot of students on the assembly were worried and really concerned about the timing of it all,” Bih said.

She agrees with the assertions in the statement along with other students in ASMSU.

“That’s also why we are signing because it was a conversation had at the General Assembly and there was a consensus that a lot could’ve been done way in advance and could’ve been done in a much more sympathetic and compassionate way,”  Bih said.


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