April 24, 2015
A time of extreme stress and frustration calls for conversation. As the reality of the deficit and unequal pay at Guilford hits home, we are relieved to have open forums to discuss what our college is going through. Student forums like the one President Jane Fernandes led on Monday encourage a sense of openness, and we, as students, ask that this transparency becomes an indispensable part of the restructuring process.
This crisis also provides an opportunity to look at our Guilford College values: community, diversity, equality, excellence, integrity, stewardship and justice. As the College finds its identity and we move to recover from this budget crisis, we must hold ourselves accountable for how we live out our values.
One potential way to uphold these values is to implement an equitable wage plan that lessens the inequality on our campus. One possible plan would tie the highest paid Guilford employees to the salaries of the lowest paid. This way, if one salary was shifted, they all would change. Not only would this kind of wage plan help eliminate the excessive amount of money spent on administrative salaries, but it would also foster a more collective and trusting community at Guilford. We can look to models such as the St. Mary’s College proposed fair wage plan for guidance.
As community members, we should make sure to take part in the conversations that influence Guilford’s future. This includes participating in public discussion and staying informed on the college’s status even as we move into summer. We ask the administration to ensure that Guilford community members who cannot be on campus for major decisions have access to up-to-date plans for potential policy changes in the form of email or other communication.
All should use this opportunity to speak up and organize together. Those with questions, concerns and ideas about the future of the college should make sure to be heard. Open forums are one opportunity for conversation, but community members can also email firstname.lastname@example.org to share their thoughts with the administration.
As we struggle to understand how our college will survive the budget deficit and also resolve pay inequality, it is important to remember what drives our identity as Guilford community members. In actively participating in the ongoing discussion, we should intentionally create policies that reflect our core values and step forward with integrity.