The Foothill-De Anza Community College district implemented new student employee requirements at the beginning of the fall quarter, and some departments are still recovering from the effects.
The changes reduced the number of hours students can work from 25 hours to 19 hours per week. The policies also require that student employees enroll in 12 units at each college where they work, and set a 150-unit cap on the number of attempted units.
Melissa Aguilar, co-director of the Student Success Center, said, “We are the biggest student employer on campus, and we’ve lost a lot of really good people.”
“We invest a lot of time into developing (an employee) into a senior tutor, and then we have to say, ‘I’m sorry, we can’t employ you anymore,’” she said.
The district police department will need to hire more police student aides to fill the necessary shifts, Ronald Levine, chief of police for the FHDA district, wrote in an email.
“With reduced hours and PSA staff, full-time staff must pick up some of the PSA workload,” he wrote.
The district introduced the policies to comply with union contracts and emphasize that “student employees must be students first, employees second,” Kevin Harral, director of financial aid for Foothill College, wrote in an email.
“These new policies do allow for more students to gain some work experience and improve their resume, make connections on campus to others who will support their successes, and still make academics their priority,” he wrote.
The district convened a committee to review student employment practices after some district employees raised concerns about student employees filling positions previously held by classified employees, Becky Bartindale, district communications coordinator, wrote in an email.
“As with any new process, the campuses are watching carefully how it is working out to determine if any adjustments are needed,” which may include discussing an appeals process for specific exceptions, Bartindale wrote.
Stacie Rowe, the DASB Senate president, said the senate has so far only talked about challenging the policy changes, “But I’d very much like to challenge it, personally.”
Rowe said she talked with a statewide consortium of student senates for advice.
“That’s where it’s at right now—strategizing,” she said.
“So far we’re trying to see what the effect (of the policy changes) is,” said Diana Alves de Lima, co-director of the SSC. “We know the rules are put in place for certain reasons … We care about the students but we know there’s a big picture to keep in mind.”
“We want to work with people to see what can be done,” Alves de Lima said, later adding, “We just need to know who are the right people to talk to.”