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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

YDSA students protest for higher student worker wages


Texas State political science sophomore and co-chair for YSDA Andrew Maglich talks to students on Instagram live, Monday, May 1st, 2023 at the Quad.

As May 1 marked International Workers’ Day and the last day of classes, TXST’s chapter of Young Democratic Socialist of America (YDSA) held a “Raise the Wage” rally and picket on campus to raise awareness for their labor campaign and gain signatures for their petition to have the University adopt a Student Workers’ Bill of Rights to enact change for student workers. 
YDSA used the last day of classes as opportunity to gain as many signatures as possible prior to the end of the semester, with the goal of presenting the petition to President Kelly Damphousse and the Board of Regents at their meeting on May 25 to push for action. 
“We worked together through a town hall with student workers to draft the demands on this petition.” YDSA Co-Chair Andrew Maglich said. “Things like a $15 minimum wage for undergrad student workers, yearly cost of living adjustments indexed to inflation seven days of paid sick leave, seven days of paid time off per year and then things that the university should already be doing, like an end to wage theft by classifying student worker labor as volunteer hours when it’s compulsory.”
Former City Councilman and TXST Alumni Maxfield Baker spoke in support of YDSA’s effort as he during his time a TXST was a student worker and worked for the student center from 2007 – 2012.
“Talking about wages is only uncomfortable when you feel like you’re profiting more than you should offer their labor,” Baker said. “It makes people question you know, are they actually taking care of the students that they have agreed to as part of their charter of this school?”
During his time on city council, Baker referred to the budget as a “moral document,” and he believes that money through the university is already being subsidized through other measures and not being prioritized to student workers.
“When we look at why the university has gotten away with it is because there hasn’t been enough mounted pressure against this system to really speak out and hold them accountable to the budgets that they pass,” Baker said. “I think that it’s really important that we capitalize on the momentum that they’ve gotten behind the signatures and really move to press on the board of regents who make very comfortable salaries, the importance of taking care of students.”
One of the demands in the Bill of Rights includes cost of living adjustments based on inflation, and Baker commented on the urgency of adopting the $15 minimum.
“We need $15 an hour today,” Baker said. “If we take too long, then we’re just going to need $20 an hour, the cost of living continues to rise so the longer we fail to address this, the worse it’s going to get.”
Another goal of the Bill of Rights is to end the cap placed on student workers for 24 hours a week, which leads many students often times looking for second or third jobs to supplement.
“This 24-hour cap was to make sure that students had time to focus on their studies, not as some mechanism to keep them from making like a livable wage,” Baker said. “Yet we know that in order to achieve that they’re still having to go out and work at the outlet malls for again, less than impressive wages.”
Co-Chair and student worker in the Department of English A’nh Adams compared the differences in pay grade as Texas State to that of Austin Community College where the hourly pay range starts at $20, as of Oct. 28, 2022.
“Austin Community College can afford to pay their student workers $20,” Adams said “Texas State has more than enough money to raise the student wages to $15 an hour this is why we’re here. We’re here to force the university take action to support their student workers and to show to show that we are a community that wants to fight for the rights of student workers and for the rights of people who work on campus.”
Although this campaign is centered around undergraduate workers, geography and natural resources and environmental studies senior Taraja Oliver said she signed as she’s starting grad school in the fall and this could be something that affects her. 
“Current grad workers don’t make $15 an hour, which should be the minimum wage forever, but especially people getting academic word, which can take a lot of time out of your own studies,” Oliver said. “I think $15 an hour minimum will help people feel a lot more secure and be able to pay their bills and, finish their degrees.”
According to YDSA Instagram over 425 signatures were collected, making it the greatest collection day for the campaign thus far, with the petition signatures including student and nonstudent workers alike. 
“We’re delivering all of these signatures May 25, bright and early at the Board of Regents meeting and to the desk of Kelly Damphousse,” Maglich said. “We want to show that we have broad support from the whole student body to raise wages for student workers.”

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  • YSDA places protest posters on The Fighting Stallions statue, Monday, May 1st 2023, on the Quad.

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