Coronavirus Updates

To Brown Student Workers: Clarifying support for aided student workers

Dear Brown Student Workers,

We are writing to clarify the University’s efforts to support student workers who rely on their student employment to meet their basic needs. Over the past weeks, we have been focused primarily on the health and safety of our students and employees, as well as ensuring that students can continue to take classes, earn course credits, and (for seniors) graduate on time.

Communications sent to student workers and their managers on March 20, therefore, focused on identifying which students can continue to work remotely after Brown’s full transition to remote education, and which students’ work assignments must end. As we wrote last week, to maintain health and safety, only students whose supervisors can identify work conducive to allowing their students to work remotely will be able to continue working past April 4.

However, it’s important to clarify that Brown will continue to provide funding for students on financial aid who were working this semester and who currently have campus employment expectations and/or federal work study as part of their financial aid packages. Students whose work can be performed remotely are expected to continue to work, and will continue to be paid for their work in those positions. Student workers whose work cannot be performed remotely will receive phased payments based on the level they were being paid prior to Brown moving to remote operations, up to the full amount they were expected to earn as part of their work expectation for the semester. In this way, we are honoring our commitment to our students on financial aid and to those students with the highest need. Phased payments through the end of the semester will be made to eligible students who cannot work remotely after we’re able to identify which jobs can or cannot be done remotely.

Some members of our community have questioned the University’s decision not to continue compensating all student workers, regardless of whether or not they are able to continue working. At Brown, not all student workers rely on campus employment for the purpose of meeting basic financial needs. Yet many students have financial aid packages that include the expectation that they will work during the school year to cover some of their cost of attendance. Rather than funding students for work they cannot do regardless of their family income level, Brown is focusing on supporting aided students whose campus jobs cannot be conducted remotely (while also paying those who are able to continue working).

We feel that funding our student workers on financial aid is aligned with the principle of treating students equitably and providing resources to the students who need them the most. As we wrote previously, this week we are determining which students can and cannot work remotely, and among those who cannot work remotely, which students are eligible for the continued earnings payments. Students in this situation will be contacted directly by University Human Resources.

In addition, the Emergency Gap Fund (E-Gap) has been and will continue to be a source of support for our highest-need students, providing them with travel funds, support for remote learning, and other resources that are needed for our students to be academically successful. The University also provided $150 to help meet the immediate need of each student on financial aid to arrange for transportation to return home.

As the campus transitions to remote teaching and learning, we are working quickly to communicate with students about the many adjustments in operations, including student employment. We appreciate your cooperation at this time of tremendous change. Please continue to contact [email protected] with questions.

Sincerely,

Amanda Bailey, Vice President of Human Resources
Barbara Chernow, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration