At the last Student Senate meeting of the semester, before students could say their goodbyes and leave for winter break, University Police Department Chief, Clarence Green, came with a proposal to compensate for the rising minimum wage in Missouri.
Green brought forward a proposal to not raise the minimum wage at this time. He said in order for the University to raise the minimum wage, it would have to either cut back on jobs and hours or Student Senate could approve a $1.80 fee per credit hour to be added to the designated fees all enrolled students pay.
This fee, if approved, would compensate for the rising minimum wage for student positions on campus. Green also offered other options for Student Senate to think about over winter break.
Green said there are many different ways the school could address the problems that come with Missouri’s rising minimum wage. Another solution he proposed is to use the exemption the University has through the Missouri Revised Statutes Section 290.500 (3), RSMo, provided by the Missouri Division of Labor Standards and keep the minimum wage at $8.60 per hour for student jobs.
“It is important that we offer a competitive wage within our student employment program, but not at the cost of reducing the number of positions we have on campus,” Green said. “Currently, over a 1,000 students participate within the program, and the experiences gained are essential to student success.”
Green said he wanted to survey students for their feedback on the $1.80 per credit hour proposal when students get back from winter break.
After hearing Green’s argument, Student Senate opened the topic for discussion. Several representatives brought up different points of view on the topic.
One Representative, who is an international student, said international students can not work off-campus due to their immigration status.
She said if they take on the new fee and allow the minimum wage to rise on campus, student positions would be reduced. This would lead to less jobs for international students who rely on the on-campus jobs.
Another Representative said some students on campus have been complaining about the amount of fees that they already have to pay. Green’s idea to survey students would aid in the decision of adding another fee to the Designated Fees that students pay along with their tuition.
One Representative suggested, rather than adding another fee or raising minimum wage, the school could start giving students internships or credits for working on campus. Green said this could be another possible solution to the concern of cutting back on jobs and hours.
In addition to these ideas and concerns, a representative said if they decide to keep raising the minimum wage rise, they would have to keep having the same discussion in future years. He also said students could potentially be paying hundreds of dollars in fees if the fee increases every time the minimum wage increases.