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Ohio University third year Maddie Chamber places hot Bosco sticks in a to-go box for a student at the pizza bar at West 82 in Baker Center, Athens, Ohio, on Sept. 2, 2022.

OU hourly student employees receive wage increases

Many Ohio University student employees received raises as part of a university-wide increase in the minimum wage for hourly student employees on Oct. 23. 

Students employed by Culinary Services and the Office of First Year and Student Transitions, or FYrST, were among those who received raises.

OU’s Culinary Services pays its employees on a five-level system. All levels received a raise of $1 per hour, which went into effect on Sept. 25. For Culinary employees, the pay range now starts at a wage of $11 per hour and peaks at $15.50 per hour.

Jules Simmons, a graduate student studying art administration, is currently an intern for Culinary Services’ campus cafes and has worked for Culinary Services since April 2019. 

“When I first got hired, the cafes were the place to work as far as Culinary goes,” Simmons said. “The dining halls have always been understaffed (and) have always been in need of people.” 

Simmons also said she thought dining hall employees were in need of the raises more than those who work in the cafes.

“It felt like we kind of didn’t necessarily need the raise as much as the dining halls per se because they really needed more staffing, and no one wants to work in a dish room for minimum wage,” Simmons said.

In a press release distributed by Culinary Services announcing its pay raises, Frank Pazzanese, the executive director of OU Culinary Services, said he hopes the raises minimize food insecurity and develop community and engagement among campus members.

Hourly student employees working at Miami University are paid a minimum wage of $11.30, $0.30 more than OU’s minimum wage. According to Miami University’s website, the raise went into effect on Aug. 13.

According to Ohio State University’s website, non-tipped hourly student employees are currently paid $9.30 per hour, while tipped employees are paid $4.65 per hour.

Although the raises were anticipated by Culinary employees, they were more unexpected for student employees in other departments.

Learning Community Leaders, or LCLs, were among those who received raises on Oct. 23. LCLs are now paid $11.25 per hour and work an average of 8 hours per week.

LCLs work under the Office of First Year and Student Transitions, or FYrST. Niamh Buckley, a junior studying psychology, became an LCL in August, and said the raises were unanticipated.

“For me, it was honestly just a pleasant surprise,” Buckley said. “We got an email that said we were getting a raise and I was just like, ‘Oh, how nice.’ I didn’t even expect to get one.”

Buckley said that LCLs are also on a multi-level system, much like Culinary, and that LCLs are given a boost to their pay for each calendar year they maintain their position.

Even though her raise was unexpected, Buckley said that it made her more likely to remain an LCL next year. Buckley said she loves the position itself, but the raise made her appreciate it even more.

“I feel like I’m able to help people transition to college because I know I really struggled with my transition to college,” Buckley said. “I wanted to help other people with that because I know how difficult it can be.”

Despite the minimum wage increase across hourly student employee positions being an extremely positive change, Simmons said she hopes raises do not remain stagnant and continue to change with the economy.

“I hope that management continues to acknowledge where we’re at and continues to grow with the economy,” Simmons said. “I think it’s enough for now, but I hope that it doesn’t stop there.”


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