Student Workers Left in the Lurch as Fall Semester Starts
By Alexa Bautista
The upcoming Fall 2020 semester is now upon the students and faculty of City College, and many are still questioning how different the college experience would be. Among the many questions students have, student employment is also a very prevalent topic that has been brought up.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, City College and other universities in the Bay Area closed during mid-March. Students were not allowed on campus and had to continue their education online or wait for further notice from their instructors. However, student workers continued to get paid until the end of May. Moreover, the Student Employment Office did not approve any lab aide or federal work study (FWS) positions during the summer session.
After the summer session concluded, many student workers were not notified by the college if they were able to come back to the campus to work. The Guardsman has inquired to several deans from Ocean Campus if they were aware of any new developments for student work, yet many are unaware if student workers would be able to return to campus.
Alexander Chavarria, Rosenberg English Lab Manager, says that during this time, there would only be a limited number of student workers, depending on the department.
“As far as I know, student jobs on campus will be available through remote work if departments can provide remote work. As far as how that will be implemented or how that will be advertised I don’t know.”
The Guardsman has reached out to the Student Employment Office, yet were only met with busy phone lines and no comment through email. Student workers are worried because they depend on City College as one of their main sources of income. Moreover, all students and faculty rely on student workers to help them with different resources and duties on campus such as tutoring, tours of the campuses, and to complete tasks for departments.
Jowi Aizpuru, Computer Science student and Math Lab tutor said that he stopped receiving FWS benefits at the end of the Spring 2020 semester.
“I stopped receiving benefits from my federal work study once the semester ended. I believe it’s because City College didn’t have the budget anymore because of COVID-19. Now, I don’t think I will be receiving it this semester because I haven’t gotten any information if I could even work remotely.”
Due to these circumstances, international students are one of the most affected student groups. This is especially true because of the scarce student work on campus and certain restrictions international students have to abide by in order to work off campus. Political Science and Psychology major Klaisyon Borges described his experience working at City College as an international student.
“My first job as a student worker was at CLAD, an English Lab that focuses on ESL students. By the time of the pandemic I was working at the bookstore. As an international student, most processes related to us are conducted by the international office. I emailed them and they said that because I was working at the bookstore, I wasn’t qualified for the continuous payments as other student workers did,” Borges said.
When asked what he thinks about how the college can help students, Borges stated, “Mainly studying ways and opening jobs for us. This pandemic has affected everyone. To work outside of it [campus], there is a very strict and bureaucratic process made to prevent us from getting jobs. The pandemic brought financial difficulties that harshened the ability to focus.”