Letter to the Editor: YDSA

Editor’s note: This piece was submitted by the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA). 

Dear Editor,

We deserved to go home for spring break. After so many assignments, papers, lectures and midterms, we deserved to go home. 

A lot of us couldn’t for a variety of reasons, but for many of us, it was the fact that gas was so expensive we couldn’t afford to fill up our tanks to get home and back on a student worker wage. $9.25 barely pays for 2 gallons of gas.

We deserve to be able to pay for our groceries. This becomes so much more difficult when we can only work for 10 hours a week (or less) while making poverty wages. 

If you have to pay rent, Augie’s wages will go entirely into keeping a roof over your head, leaving nothing for books, food and living.

International students aren’t allowed to find an off campus job that might pay more. Some of us don’t have cars, so an off campus job is not on the table. Some of us physically cannot pursue better opportunities, so we have been forced to accept the crumbs given to us.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Obviously, Augustana isn’t a mega-corporation like Amazon or Microsoft. The administration isn’t sitting on disgusting amounts of wealth that we can call for immediate redistribution, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Comparable colleges in Illinois pay the $12 Illinois minimum wage. They have figured out how to do it and keep the administration’s jobs and salaries, so why hasn’t Augustana? We claim to be a leader, a progressive voice, a place where change is created, yet the campus has held onto this archaic idea that this is the best they can do. While they build new million dollar buildings, they’re paying you $2.75 below what Illinois has decided is the minimum a worker deserves to be compensated.

College campuses are places where people who change the world are built. You are being shaped into someone who is going to make a difference, someone who is going to create ethical and just changes in our society.

One of these changes doesn’t have to wait, it can start now and you can help us prove to Augustana that they need us, the student workers, to operate the institution that they are so proud of.

The “Augie Bubble” is something that we are all very aware of, so what’s stopping us from utilizing it for good? In order to bring an issue like being vastly underpaid to administration’s forethought, we have to rely on unity and solidarity on our campus. 

If all of us are upset, we have the numbers to support our desires.

We’re a community. This affects all of us. 

The people serving your dinners, the person making your coffee, the person tutoring you so that you pass your next exam, they’re all getting paid less than they deserve to be.

Our campus needs you to care about this issue. We need the support of much of the student body to create meaningful change. 

You should not accept the crumbs that have been given to you just because it could be worse. A better world is possible, but we need you to help achieve it.