BLC urges policy reform
The Brandeis Labor Coalition released a petition on Friday urging University President Frederick Lawrence and the administration to reform Brandeis’ labor and economic policies.
The petition contains five points of reform: just employment policy, transparency in the University budget, reformation of executive compensation, fair community representation and a lock-in of the tuition rate for students.
“These are tangible changes that we want to see Brandeis implement,” said BLC member Andrew Nguyen ’15 in an interview with the Justice. “We are seeking actual institutional change.”
The BLC’s point of just employment policy would ensure a safe work environment and provide “appropriate grievance procedures” to address staff concerns in a timely manner, according to the petition.
“This proposal is modeled off of [Georgetown University’s] just employment policy,” said Nguyen. “It’s ridiculous that Brandeis doesn’t have a policy around protecting worker’s rights from outside contractors already in place, and we call ourselves a social justice university.” He added that BLC wants Brandeis to hold contractors more accountable for their treatment of workers.
The second point calls for transparency in the University budget, with students, staff and faculty “given access to complete, up-to-date budget information and proposals, as well as simplified and easy-to-understand summary versions.”
In addition, the petition calls for open, town hall forums to be held throughout the budget planning process.
The third point calls for a reformation of executive compensation, including proportionally tying executive pay to the salaries of the lowest-paid workers on campus. The fourth asks for more community representation on the Board of Trustees, with voting rights given to student, faculty and staff representatives to the Board. Currently, those representatives are not able to vote, and student representatives are not allowed in meetings of certain Board subcommittees, according to Nguyen.
The final point calls for a lock-in of the University’s tuition rate; under the proposal, students would pay the same tuition fee as they did in their first semester on campus throughout their Brandeis career. It also asks that the new tuition increase for each incoming class not exceed 3.5 percent, a figure which Nguyen said was borrowed from a policy in place at George Washington University.
“Our primary goal is labor justice, but we also look at economic justice, which is closely related,” said Nguyen. “If we can’t see where money is being put to, we can’t really criticize it. If we don’t have a foot in the door, we can’t change things.