It’s been over a month since the basketball season ended and the pep band — which performs at every home game — has only just received payment for its work this week.
In the past, Pep Band members were paid through a stipend, but new regulations created by the Affordable Care Act require that all students employed by the university be paid by the hour.
For most students, these regulations do not pose new payment problems because they were already paid by the hour. They work on a set schedule, and hourly pay remains, well, simple.
For some campus employees, though, hourly payment just does not make logical sense. Consider the problems that arise when trying to pay Pep Band members by the hour. What happens if a game goes into overtime or is a blowout that only takes an hour? Should band members be paid for the time they spend playing or for the whole event?
These payment issues extend beyond the music department, and some campus jobs are simply difficult to put into an hourly system — ours included.
Jambar reporters are always on the clock. We step out of class to take phone calls; we get to campus early to conduct interviews; we work late to meet deadline. So, how should we accurately log our hours? How do we develop a regular work schedule?
Some employees, then, should be paid — not for the time they spend working — but for the product they create while working. At The Jambar, reporters should be paid for articles; at Rookery Radio, students should be paid for successful broadcasts; and, at basketball games, Pep Band members should be paid for performances.
While employees in the Office of Student Life have said they would be willing to work with university departments to explain the student employment process, no explanation should be needed. This process should be self-explanatory; it should be simple.
No university department should struggle to properly pay students. Federal regulations that require hours to be tracked and mandate that papers be processed for every student employee make compensation difficult.
We therefore propose that the university consider more flexible payment options.
During an interview with The Jambar, Adam Earnheardt, a professor in the department of communication, shared his own innovative solution to the compensation problem at hand: some student workers should not be placed on the university’s payroll. Instead, these students should be considered outside contractors — paid for their work, not their time.
We’re thrilled that Pep Band members have finally received the money they have earned. But, we remain angry at federal regulations that hindered the music department’s ability to speedily compensate band members and at the university’s rigid pay models. Youngstown State University, simplify this payment process.