Students Organizing for Higher Pay

By Andi Mellon 

Official Statement of Purpose 

We are concerned students and faculty members of Berea College seeking to improve the quality of life for student workers. Student workers strive to contribute to the campus community by performing work well done in their labor positions. In return, we are asking for greater autonomy, respect, and dignity. Being paid below the federal minimum wage is no longer acceptable compensation for our labor. We recognize that a certain percentage of our wage is derived from the Federal Work-Study program, and that the remaining percentage lies in the value of our education and services. However, we cannot purchase groceries nor access healthcare with class credits. There are specific student populations that are disproportionately impacted by low wages: 

  • Non-traditional students, students with children, and students supporting families  
  • International students who are burdened with high tax rates 
  • Students with medical and/or psychiatric conditions, and students taking regular medications 
  • Students who are not in contact with their biological families

    Our Demands 

  • Establish a base pay of $7.25 per hour
  • No increase in term bills as a result of the pay increase

The purpose of the Student Labor Program is to prepare us for careers outside of college. A higher wage will allow us to sustain ourselves during our transition from college to career. We need Berea to do away with the assumption that all or most students have families or homes to support them after college. We wish to be recognized as autonomous humans with unique needs, whose contributions to the college are valuable and necessary. Fair compensation will build a stronger campus community by improving student morale and attitudes toward labor. With your help, we can improve conditions for the students who are working hard to maintain, care for, and better our campus. 

Link to the petition here for higher pay at Berea:

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