By Grace Gottschling
Student Government discussed concerns over Sodexo’s alleged mistreatment of its employees, a modified Learning Assistant policy and the development of a new financial literacy course during its weekly meeting on Feb. 14.
SG is investigating rumors that Sodexo, the College’s dining facilities provider, is mistreating its employees by reducing their hours to avoid the legal obligation of providing healthcare benefits for them. There have also been rumors of stark racial disparity between employees and management staff.
These concerns have been brought up by the TCNJ Committee on Unity, which was responsible for much of the controversy about the TCNJ Clinic and the renaming of Paul Loser Hall to Trenton Hall last year.
TCU and SG are currently concerned about low wages, reduced breaks and the lack of an established union for Sodexo employees.
Sodexo also invested in the remodeling of the Brower Student Center, and has significant ties to the College that would be difficult to break if these allegations of impropriety are confirmed, according to SG.
SG is attempting to get more information on shift lengths and employee responsibilities, as well as any statistics on the percentage of entry-level workers compared to those with benefits.
SG said that it is focused on fostering a welcoming and caring environment for every employee that works at the College, and stressed that the College’s relationship to the Trenton community and the campus community is of the utmost importance.
Earlier this month, the Steering Committee sent a memorandum to the Committee on Academic Programs regarding the consideration of a Learning Assistant policy in regards to the peer-to-peer teaching courses that are currently offered in the psychology, physics and biology departments at the College. The suggestion for the policy was given by Matthew Wund, chair of the School of Science Curriculum Committee.
“While the College prides itself in not having teaching assistants, it seems appropriate to consider ways in which undergraduates can assist effectively in the classroom and can learn from this experience,” the Steering Committee Memorandum stated. “The experience for the undergraduate Learning Assistant may be considered analogous to that of any other internship. However, the use of Learning Assistants also impacts the students in the classroom.”
A Learning Assistant policy is now being considered by CAP, which is discussing a mandatory inclusion in the syllabi of every class with an LA. Students in classes that have LAs will be able to keep their grades and GPA confidential from the LA.
A financial literacy pilot course is also in its preliminary stages, with no current timeline of its development. The course would be a voluntary option for students to learn more about finances, and would cover topics such as mortgages, how to file taxes, balancing a checkbook, balancing a budget and paying bills and loans. The pilot course is set to be a hybrid learning course, which is a combination of in-person and online sessions.
If you are a Sodexo employee or have any clarifying information to offer SG, please email them at: email@example.com. If requested, your name and identifying information will not be included in any official paperwork as to not endanger your employment status or relationship with Sodexo or the College.