Work study cooks up debate


by Courtney Kirkland

Simpson College is reconsidering work study placement this semester, due to requests from international students.

According to Daniel Muttiah, leader of the International Student Organization, there have been a significant amount of complaints from international students about their placement in food service positions.

“International students are being lumped together in food service,” said Muttiah. “If Simpson would spread international students out across campus in work study jobs it would give us a better opportunity to meet people.”

Although the organization has not issued a formal complaint Muttiah has taken matters into his own hands by informing Simpson’s board of trustees and the International Programs Committee that a problem exists.

“We haven’t gotten together to issue the formal complaint because a lot of the students who are feeling that they are being taken advantage of aren’t saying so,” Muttiah said.

Simpson’s office of financial assistance is responsible for placing students in work-study positions.

Bill Geiger, associate director of financial assistance, said the college looks primarily at the academic interests and past experiences of students when making a decision on work study arrangements. “Of course upper-class students are assigned first, and then we fill the jobs in as we go with freshmen and transfer students,” he said.

Geiger said he was informed of the international students’ feelings from Deb Tierney, director of admissions. Immediately he began to try and work things out with the concerned students.

“International students are now being allowed to work in other areas but, because of the amount of money they need to earn each year they need the extra hours and money that the food service positions provide,” he said.

Simpson’s international students need to earn anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 a year.

The new shifts in work-study positions have moved some international students to non food-service related jobs on campus.

According to recent work study rosters five out of the 48 student employees at the library are international students. The computer lab employs 43 total students of which six are from origins outside of the United States. However, food service still holds the highest amount of international student employees, with 21 out of 48 student employees being of non-U.S. origin. The mail room and business office still do not have any international student employees.

Freshman international student, Prakash Kayastha, said that the recent changes are an important step in a working progress.

“In individual talks with Bill Geiger other students and I were able to put our ideas out there, as a result the college has become more flexible,” Kayastha said.

Kayastha, who at first was just employed by the Storm Street Grill, now works in the library as well. Kayastha said that a few of his colleagues were happily reassigned to additional positions also.

“We (international students) should thank them for the other options, Kayastha said. “I am very happy and thankful that Simpson is interested in international students’ views, ideas and feelings.”