Monday, March 21, 2005

I bet there aren't any econ majors in the bunch 

A group of Georgetown students are holding a hunger strike for a living wage for its maintenance workers.
"These are people we see everyday, who make it possible for us to go to class," said Foglizzo, 21, who is majoring in culture and politics. "We can affect their lives directly now."

She and 24 other Georgetown students participating in the hunger strike want to boost hourly salaries and job and wage security for the university's 450 contract employees, mostly custodial, food service and security workers.

The workers receive on average $11.33 an hour, which includes wages and health benefits, a Georgetown spokeswoman said.

Georgetown officials said they are committed to fairly compensating the university's workers. An advisory committee is weighing a proposal by Georgetown Senior Vice President Spiros Dimolitsas to phase in wage increases to a minimum of $14 an hour by summer 2007.

After that, wages would increase annually, taking into account inflation. In all, it would cost the university nearly $550,000 over the next two years.

If $14.93 was set as the minimum hourly wage right away for all its workers, including its 4,500 direct employees, it would add $1.8 million annually to the university budget, said Julie Green Bataille, a university spokeswoman.

Student activists said money should not be an issue. The university, they noted, raised $15 million for a new boathouse on the Potomac and is seeking $120 million for a business school.
Of course, a boathouse and a business school can carry names of the donors. The university has responded several times to my requests for a lab for my students to learn statistical skills to get a donor for it. I've tried to sell donors on the idea of a splash screen that thanks the donor for three seconds every time someone logs in. No such luck. I don't think selling ad space on the side of a rolling garbage can is going to do much better.

UPDATE: Some students are smarter than others.