Resident Assistants and Desk Attendants working in the Pontchartrain Hall dorms complained three weeks ago that they were not paid over the month of August. Since weekly payments for on-campus jobs are administered by Payroll, it would be rational for one to expect this lapse in payment to have begun there. Yet this is untrue, Payroll having clarified its responsibilities. Timesheets pass through a process before reaching Payroll’s desks in the Administration Building. Timesheets are cleared by the directors of each working department on campus before reaching our Human Resources department for approval, whereupon the timesheets are returned to Payroll, whose workers enter the proper values and ensure everyone is paid in a timely manner. If not from Payroll, then how did this issue begin?
According to Director of Residential Life Amanda Robbins ([email protected]), the issue has little to do with any department on campus, but with the student workers’ lack of working experience. Robbins explained that a “majority of struggles” began with hiring student workers. She cites numerous conflicts prospective workers had with completing the complex forms to fill out during the hiring process. Most issues were lapses in paperwork between workers and the Housing office: Did the student complete his or her FAFSA? Was it pulled for extra verification? Smaller issues such as these stunted Housing’s ability to determine which workers could and could not be paid, leading to the delay in payment processing.
Robbins worked with Payroll and Financial Aid to understand what was expected of students and how their paperwork was filled out, see that the students received the appropriate backpay and make sure any standing issues were resolved. At this time RAs and DAs should by now be adequately paid. Robbins says the Housing office is “definitely getting close with wrapping up” this issue of payment, as students are being paid accordingly or are surely in that process. Robbins would now like to focus on the future, utilizing software which could circumvent issues like these between student workers and Housing in the future. The proposed program, set to debut in the next few months, would allow for improved connectivity within the Housing community, between residents and their assistants, and student workers and Housing proper.
In this confusion, Robbins expressed sympathy for those students who were not adequately paid. “They’re a valuable part of our team,” she said, “so I’m glad to be able to help resolve the issue.” Robbins understood that, as the department on campus with the highest percentage of student workers, there is the potential for miscommunication and issues with such a large amount of paperwork. But in this frustrating start to the fall semester, Robbins wishes to keep in contact with Housing’s student workers, to express when there is an issue. “I don’t want our students to live in a way that’s not comfortable,” Robbins continued. “I don’t want anything to go unresolved.”