Student employment remains confusing and uncertain, especially for first-

By Sophie Foster

Opinion Editor

Now that the 2023-2024 academic year is underway and the first weeks of classes are behind them, many students are reaching the point, if they were not already, of looking for employment on campus.

For some, this employment serves merely as a supplemental opportunity to go out with friends on weekends or buy decorations for the approaching holiday. For others, it is a necessity, either due to their status as a Federal Work Study student or so they can work their way through bills, including, in some cases, future tuition payments or textbook fees.

Unfortunately, the way this information is delivered to students becomes more muddled each year, likely in part resulting from the switch from Handshake and JobX to Paycom as the primary payment service during the previous academic year.

According to previous Elm coverage, this switch was made in September 2022 with the intention to “consolidate the management of payroll and the process of posting jobs into one system.”

However, the transition has proven challenging to students and faculty alike, in part because of the very consolidation it sought to provide. Paycom, as it turns out, does not entirely understand the premise of students holding more than one job on campus.

Employment managers, such as former Chair of the Board of Publications and Associate Director of the Literary House Roy Kesey, were inundated each week last year with reported work hours they could not singularly confirm. Each timesheet reflects the student’s total hours, rather than separate hours for each individual position they hold. For some, this means the blending of three or even four positions into one consolidated mess.

More urgent, though, is the lack of clarity regarding the process among students altogether. This uncertainty impacts first-years most of all, who did not receive thorough Paycom training during their week-long orientation in August.

“There are so many resources available to first-year students and it’s all thrown to them at once,” Peer Mentor sophomore Isabella Sorhegui said. “It can get a little overwhelming toward the end of orientation. From what I saw, there was no training on the use of Paycom, and to be honest, I barely know how to use Paycom.”

Sorhegui also said that campus jobs on the broadscale do tend to have more information circulating regarding their presence during orientation week beyond the scope of the Paycom service.

In terms of conversations on campus regarding the functioning of Paycom, Sorhegui believes there could be room for improvement moving forward.

“It can be a bit complicated to find information about,” Sorhegui said. “If the processes were simplified it would help so much.”

Meanwhile, student services are signficantly impacted by Paycom’s inadequacy in delivering payment and outlining individual student jobs.

Safe Ride, for example, which is a necessity on campus and works to drive students home when they are unable to transport themselves, was forced to cancel its hours on Sept. 9 in part because of “Paycom related issues,” according to the organization’s Instagram page.

The College’s struggles to navigate student employment are creating a crisis among students that does not have an apparent end ahead; at least, not in this academic year.

The lack of consideration for student employees is, in part, a reflection of the College’s inability to understand how heavily some of the students rely on their positions on campus to continue attending the school at all, and how many more rely on those positions to attend comfortably.

Lack of transparency about applications and resources, inadequate guidelines for navigating payroll services, and delays with payment are making the College hostile toward lower class, working students. This problem cannot persist if WC is concerned about retention.

According to Paycom’s own website, their ambition is “simplifying life for employees while meeting [their] clients’ needs in an ever-evolving landscape.” Why, then, is student employment so far from simple on campus?

Photo caption: Bunting Hall hosts the Business Office, where the majority of student employment work is conducted at the College.

Elm Archive Photo

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