The University Needs to Raise Campus Minimum Wage

Joe Adams, Staff Writer

Has anyone noticed how Connelly Convenience is closed during random parts of the day? Or how so few of our classmates are taking up part-time jobs on campus this semester? How about seeing the same staff at the dining halls every day, but unfortunately never enough staff to keep up with the peak times of getting food?

This has been a sad reality I have noticed at the University this semester. It seems that we are underpaying students who truly want a job on campus while overworking those who work full time at the dining halls. This must change.

It is clear that $7.25 an hour just does not cut it for us right now. As college students, many of us are trying to make extra money on the side to cover tuition, personal expenses and to save for our futures. However, to many students, making $7.25 for an hour of work simply is not worth it. And I agree.

Many of us are coming from states where the minimum wage is between $12-15/hour, and we can see the benefits it has provided us so far. In short, we make more, can save more and live a little easier with a wage that is fair and necessary. Of course, at Villanova, it is a different story. So many are turned off by the fact that the wage is so low, and many are asking the University to do something about it. I was able to speak with my friend and Class of 2024 Senator Thomas Dessoye about his thoughts on raising the minimum wage on campus and how he would go about doing this with fellow members of Student Government Association.

“I firmly believe raising the on campus minimum wage is an appropriate and effective initiative the Student Government Association should pursue, not only to help students receive adequate financial support from Villanova, but also to increase staffing opportunities on campus,” Dessoye said. “This would largely assist in creating more jobs within dining services, and therefore, allow more food varieties to be presented and ideally improve the quality of the food.”

This is another potential positive of raising the minimum wage: less overworked staff would get better pay, and it could fix the food quality issue on campus.

Dessoye explained that the first step was to “determine the numbers and receive data from the school administration and HR before any serious action can be taken.”

As I wondered what the minimum wage increase could potentially be, Dessoye described that he may look to other schools in the area for guidance. 

“At the moment, there is currently not a set amount developed to which we would want it raised,” Dessoye said. “However, we want to have a minimum wage that is similar to other institutions like Villanova. For instance, Haverford College, a school next to Villanova, has a $10.50 minimum wage for student workers.”

And $10.50 sounds much more enticing than $7.25. I truly think the University has the opportunity to do this and give back to its students and staff in a positive way. However, Dessoye mentioned that the transition to a higher minimum wage would not be easy.

“There will be obstacles in trying to achieve a higher minimum wage for Villanova,” he said. “One can argue that it will economically exacerbate the situation by raising the prices of items on campus, but ultimately it will increase the income of low-paid staff and students. Additionally, it has the potential to increase the demand for school items as low-paid staff and students earn more. Also, students and staff would potentially work less hours due to a limited budget payroll, but Villanova could try to work around that.”

Of course, I know that raising the minimum wage will not happen overnight, and it is not a simple task. As with everything in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to doing this, but I strongly believe the pros far outweigh the cons. 

There is a lot that must happen for the minimum wage to increase, but I believe in the University and our Student Government Association to do the right thing.