Many student employees that have experience through Event Management, Dining, and Hospitality claim that the conditions of the on-campus workplace are horrible.  

To the student employees, issues are based off of their views of how EMDH runs a variety of things and the disorganization of the systems that EMDH have in place.  

Their biggest issues align with the way they are paid, the system put into place when it comes to hours, shifts and guidelines, the hiring and training process and the bias and mistreatment made by their managers and employers.  

“[At first], it was pretty decent. It was enough for me. I do wish I would have gotten more because once I moved into an apartment, it got a little bit more expensive for groceries and I didn’t have a meal plan,” Diego Hernandez, former McAllister’s and Starbucks student employee and current senior said.  

“My paychecks weren’t as big as I would like them to be, but that was because of how many hours that they schedule you for,” he said. 

Bone Renovation- The Landing

Several students work in the Bone Student Center, in places like McAllisters, The Landing and Starbucks.

 

Student employees do believe that the flexibility of scheduling and shifts is beneficial when it comes to classes and other priorities. 

 

“They don’t want to put you in too many shifts because you’re also not allowed to work over 28 hours per week at a university job,” Hernandez said. 

 

However, the concern has started to rise when it comes to the guidelines that are put into place. For example, the Starbucks in the Bone Student Center is known to have guidelines that differ than the guidelines at a corporate Starbucks. 

 

With this, many student employees have gotten written up on multiple occasions or fired without a proper warning for certain guidelines that they believe were never told to them when they were first hired. 

 

Since student employees are only given very limited days and shifts they are allowed to miss compared to the corporate world, many of these write-ups have included having to find other employees to fulfill specific shifts due to a last minute emergency or because of other priorities. 

 

Some students have even claimed that EMDH makes itself a first priority despite the many other responsibilities that college students have.

 

Following being hired, many have stated that the training process is the most disorganized part of EMDH with no proper training by supervisors for students who are hired after the semester starts.

 

Because of this, students who may have only been working there for short periods of time are given new employees to train and work with. Some have stated that this was never part of their job or agreement when they were first hired.

 

Additionally, these students must train these employees on multiple occasions and do other jobs they never were hired to do throughout their experiences. As a result, they were never paid extra or given promotions during their time at EMDH for doing these jobs. 

  “When I was working the morning shift with the supervisor that quit in the past, she literally made every day a living hell for me,” Desiree Barnes, former Watterson Dining Hall student employee and current junior said. “Literally every day, she picked on me for the littlest things and I never did anything to deserve it.”

 “She wanted me to train people which wasn’t my job, it was her job. She wanted me to do things that she asked no other students to do,” she continued.   

Many students are even hesitant to continue working or show up because the mistreatment of supervisors and management, especially in situations like Barnes.  

 EMDH Director Bill Legett and other EMDH directors know that the systems in place aren’t perfect but believe that the reason for some of these allegations is because they firmly want to give every student employee to know what it is like to be responsible and to be held accountable for their actions.

“If we decide that we’re not going to be strict on our policies, guidelines or expectations, the result will not be something that I think the university community would like,” Legett said. “At the same time, we believe that we are teaching them to be responsible and to be accountable because some students have never worked."

 Some students have mentioned that the bias is noticeable in some workplace where they allege supervisors and managers treat certain employees with more respect compared to other employees.  

To them, it goes beyond having some student employees slack off while others have to work twice as hard just to get paid less. Many of the favored student employees are very close with these supervisors and managers outside of the workplace. 

It has even gone far enough that some have heard these supervisors and employees making inappropriate comments about certain student employees. 

For these students who don’t have that close bond and are trying to get experience and additional cash, to bring that relationship into the workplace or even have that relationship at all is unjust and inappropriate.  

 “The student managers and the administrators are like best friends. At the end of the day, you’re an adult and they’re a student. You shouldn’t have an outside relationship with your employee like that,” Barnes said. “I feel like to build that relationship to cause even more unfair bias in the workplace, you’re not making the student managers do their job. You’re making the students make up for their job.”  

These students, such as Hernandez and Barnes, encourage that students who are seeking employment to look off campus for better opportunities, such as higher pay, better hours and treatment and have more understanding employers.  

“For you to work through a university job and them not give you tuition assistance while I work at McDonalds and get a scholarship of $2,500 every semester and I get paid more than [EMDH student employees], that says something,” Barnes said.  

Despite the encouragement to get jobs off campus from many student employees, EMDH claims that there is a lot to unfold and specify when it comes to these certain allegations being true. 

“You’d be surprised how many students’ first job is the job in a dining center or the job at the Bone Student Center,” Legett said.  

On the case of the mistreatment and unfairness between handfuls of workers, EMDH’s Training and Development Coordinator Erin Watts believes that being “too friendly” in the workplace between management and student employees build a positive environment that benefits all.  

“I think you can have high expectations to achieve exceptional customer service but still have fun and be positive at the same time. I don’t think we necessarily have to balance the two, but I think they can occur at the same time,” Watts said.  

EMDH is willing to listen to the feedback that students are providing and improving the systems in place, but Legett’s team insists that these changes and improvements to the systems won’t happen if students don’t speak out to them personally.   

And in agreement to Watts, EMDH’s Associate Director of Marketing, Training, and Analytics Joe Hendrix believes that the development of student employees is important regardless of the fact that other student employees might see this as biased or unjust in the workplace.  

“A part of fostering the development of [being a student employee] is holding student employees accountable. It’s the same as it is for our full-time staff. It doesn’t mean that it has to be done in a negative manner, but it does have to be done,” Hendrix said. 

 

Student employees do believe that the flexibility of scheduling and shifts is beneficial when it comes to classes and other priorities. 

 

“They don’t want to put you in too many shifts because you’re also not allowed to work over 28 hours per week at a university job,” Hernandez said. 

 

However, the concern has started to rise when it comes to the guidelines that are put into place. For example, the Starbucks in the Bone Student Center is known to have guidelines that differ than the guidelines at a corporate Starbucks. 

 

With this, many student employees have gotten written up on multiple occasions or fired without a proper warning for certain guidelines that they believe were never told to them when they were first hired. 

 

Since student employees are only given very limited days and shifts they are allowed to miss compared to the corporate world, many of these write-ups have included having to find other employees to fulfill specific shifts due to a last minute emergency or because of other priorities. 

 

Some students have even claimed that EMDH makes itself a first priority despite the many other responsibilities that college students have.

 

Following being hired, many have stated that the training process is the most disorganized part of EMDH with no proper training by supervisors for students who are hired after the semester starts.

 

Because of this, students who may have only been working there for short periods of time are given new employees to train and work with. Some have stated that this was never part of their job or agreement when they were first hired.

 

Additionally, these students must train these employees on multiple occasions and do other jobs they never were hired to do throughout their experiences. As a result, they were never paid extra or given promotions during their time at EMDH for doing these jobs. 

 

“When I was working the morning shift with the supervisor that quit in the past, she literally made every day a living hell for me,” Desiree Barnes, former Watterson Dining Hall student employee and current junior said. “Literally every day, she picked on me for the littlest things and I never did anything to deserve it.”

 

KELLIE FOY is a News Reporter for The Vidette. She can be contacted at vidette_kafoy1@ilstu.edu  Follow her on Twitter at @kellie_foy 


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