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Dartmouth Pays the Market (to Some)

Last week we described the College as grossly overpaying its staff, both relative to the labor market in the Upper Valley and to the Living Wage calculations of the Poverty in America center at Penn State. Reader response was rapid from a group that enjoys no such largesse: the College’s students. It seems that Dartmouth doesn’t pay undergraduates a penny more than the going local rate for work. Take a look at this job offer — which comes in at a rate below what my own business pays in its daycare center:

Classroom Assistant1.jpg

Once again, the adminstration’s longstanding priority comes into focus: the staff before the students. This policy is obvious above, and it should be obvious to anyone comparing Dartmouth’s larger scale choices as regards overall staff pay and student tuition. Want proof? The College is also advertising the same job to local people on its jobs website:

Classroom Assistant2.jpg

At what pay?

Classroom Assistant5.jpg

Maybe the College thinks that a local person with a high school diploma will do 27.2% better work than a Dartmouth student? Or maybe we are seeing discrimmination against students? Why else offer $11.45/hour (the midpoint between $10.05 and $12.84) to local people and only $9.00/hour to students.

That said, my gripe is not with the wage offered to students. If they’ll accept it, that’s fine. My concern is why pay more than necessary to residents of the Upper Valley, and waste the College’s money in the process. A fair wage is one that people agree on.

Addendum: A student writes in:

Nice piece about the wages, etc., of College employees, especially the union members. An interesting follow-up would be to compare that to what the College pays student employees in various part-time (or full-time in off terms) positions. While I can’t speak to the experience of others in other positions, I know that the Tutor Clearinghouse, a part of the Academic Skills Center, pays me $9/hour for peer tutoring, a job I’ve had for a while. This is something that, while in high school, I made $15-20/hour off of (and in fact, I tutored a Hanover High student last term at this rate), and is also less than the amount I made this past summer stocking shelves and cashiering at Target (granted, I live in the high-minimum wage state of Washington, but still).

Given the service I provide and the skill in both teaching ability, ability to explain concepts in multiple different ways and knowledge of the material, I think it’s more than safe to say this is something that should not pay less than being a food service worker (indeed, less than two-thirds of said food service worker’s pay).


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