60 Students to Lose Jobs
by Juan Lachapelle | published May. 6th, 2014
Currently, there are over 140 lab assistants working all over campus, but this will be cut down to about 80 during the transition into the 2014 fall semester. Lab assistants - better known as “labbies” - work and monitor the many computer labs stationed around campus. Each college hires lab assistants through lab services. The cuts will only affect the College of Imaging Arts & Sciences and the College of Business.
Lab assistants were notified through email by lab services a little before spring break that there would be no hiring opportunities for the summer semester. Another email was sent in the beginning of April to further clarify that they will not be hiring for the next academic year and hours will be cut across the board.
The system is made up of five tiers with the more experienced and older assistants in tiers one and two and the newer labbies in four and five. People in tiers four and five are more likely to lose their jobs while the lower tiers will work less hours.
According to David Ballard, director of Technical Services and adjunct professor for the college of business, the main motivation for the cuts is to have longer labs hours and move towards a 24/7 open lab model in the future. “In order for us to actually facilitate that, we have to look at a “labbie-less” model for the labs,” said Ballard.
The decision was discussed and decided a few months ago when the college’s budget was being discussed. Ballard and his staff are looking into self-serving software to solve common problems, creating a technical support group for students to contact and additional safety measures for students and equipment.
Aaron Solomon, a third year 3D Digital Graphics student, is a second tier lab assistant that does basic IT level work, rents out equipment to students and monitors his assigned labs. He felt as though the main motivation for the cuts being to lower costs for the colleges. “Our job is a minimal security job…” said Solomon. “For most of the labs, it’s considered to be an unnecessary job.”
Some labs assistants have very basic responsibilities like locking-up after closing hours, cleaning the lab once a week and keeping attendance. Solomon said that the cleaning responsibility can fall on FMS if necessary and security could be done through cameras.
Trevor Mazzaglia, a fourth year Film and Animation major, is a supervising assistant in the 3D Labs for CIAS. He has been approached by many students under him about the situation and how to deal with it.
He said that the cuts will greatly affect international students. With no ability to work off-campus, the cuts are a significant loss of well-paying jobs for that community. “They [International students] rely on these on-campus jobs, these 20 hour weeks to pay for everything they need,” said Mazzaglia.
For those worried about losing hours, Mazzaglia recommends getting certified for as many labs as possible to work more. For those on the verge on losing their jobs, there’s not much that can be done. “No matter what I tell these students that come to me that try to get hours in this lab or that lab,” said Mazzaglia. “…they will have to find another job”.