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Culinary Services Union president discusses worker exploitation with Student Senate

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The president of the Culinary Services Union held a presentation with Student Senate to highlight student workers’ concerns as employees of Culinary Services.

The president of the Culinary Services Union met with Student Senate on Wednesday to discuss student workers’ concerns that they are being exploited by Culinary Services.

Dillon Barnhouse, president of the Culinary Services Union, said it is exploitation to ask a student who is paid minimum wage to fulfill roles such as cooking, a task usually performed by workers who make $18 or more an hour.

Based on his interactions with student workers, Barnhouse believes students don’t want to cook, and instead would rather perform behind the scenes duties such as meal prepping, table wiping, and placing utensils.

“You’re here for your education, and if you’re thrown into a job that you’re not comfortable with … that’s added stress,” he said. “Students don’t want to leave work with flour or grease on them and then immediately have to go to class.”

Barnhouse said Culinary Services plans to add three sous chef positions. Sous chefs will be paid $80,000/yr, for a grand total of $240,000 between the three positions. Barnhouse was told that the addition of sous chefs is designed to bring Culinary Services “to the next level.”

“I have not got clarification on what that ‘next level’ is, or what the intentions are,” Barnhouse said, as the Senate laughed.

Barnhouse said he hopes to work with Student Senate in the future to assist in creating resolutions for student workers.

Student Senate also heard from Deb Shaffer, Ohio U’s vice president for finance and administration. Shaffer’s presentation addressed student concerns like rising tuition and facility maintenance.

She first broke down the university budget, which has about $1 billion allocated for management. However, Ohio U is only able to spend a small percentage of those funds. The predominant source of revenue comes from tuition, room and board, and state funding, Shaffer said.

The university budget is also supplemented by century bonds, which are loans from the state that the university only pays interest on. About $250 million comes from century bonds, and this funding can only be used on construction projects. The university uses these funds solely for things in drastic need of repair, Shaffer said.

Despite only being able to spend borrowed money on construction projects, the university still makes money on these investments.

Shaffer said that there’s a misconception about what Ohio U can spend money earned through investments on, noting the backlash the university receives when tuition increases year to year, despite the $80 million it made last year, for example.

“Those aren’t dollars we’re legally allowed to spend,” Shaffer said. “They have to stay in these funds, and there’s federal laws on how much money we can draw out.”

In other business, Senate enacted a resolution to give former members of the judicial panel the option to receive emeritus status. Senate also appointed a delegate to the university life commission.

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