Campus & Community

Recommendations of the Faculty Committee

4 min read

Claim: The recommendations of the faculty committee charged with studying employment practices at Harvard represent “minor improvements.”

In fact:

  • The faculty committee recommended, and the University adopted, a series of measures that place Harvard among leading employers in the region and the nation in terms of benefits and career opportunities available to workers at all levels.
  • Harvard has extended subsidized health benefits to any employee of the university who works at least 2 days a week at a cost to the University of $2,000 per employee.
  • Harvard’s education and training program, the Harvard Bridge to Learning and Literacy, is one of the most innovative and generous employer-based education programs in the nation. It provides courses to entry level workers in English-as-a-second-language, basic literacy, GED, and computer literacy. The program is accessible to entry-level workers and it is available to Harvard employees and the employees of contractors.
  • The Bridge Program is free to workers and includes paid release time during working hours. It represents an investment of approximately $2,800 per year for each eligible worker.
  • The University has established guidelines governing contracting with outside companies for service work for ongoing service to the Harvard campus of more than $50,000 per year and for periods of nine months or more. They specify that companies with whom Harvard contracts must maintain employment practices (including offering health insurance to employees who work 16 hours a week or more on the Harvard campus) consistent with the University’s commitment to fairness for all workers.
  • Harvard has extended a range of benefits and perks to casual workers designed to increase their participation in the University community. These include: a Harvard ID; paid time off; tuition assistance; T-pass and Commuter Rail discounts; Harvard University Employees Credit Union; Group Home and Auto Insurance; enrollment in courses at the Center for Training and Development; consideration for annual pay increases and other benefits.

Claim: The Living Wage Campaign claims that Harvard has been slow to implement the recommendations of the faculty committee charged with studying employment practices at Harvard.

In fact:

  • All of the Committee’s recommendations have been endorsed by the University and either have been or are in the process of being implemented.
  • Beginning in September 2000, approximately 250 employees from the Faculty Club, Harvard Dining Services, and University Operations have enrolled in Harvard’s education and training program. Next year the University plans to expand the program to serve 500 employees and employees of service contractors.
  • Enhanced benefits and perks for casual employees were made available as of October 2000.
  • Health benefits were made available to all employees of the University who work at least two days a week as of Jan. 1, 2001.
  • The guidelines governing contracting for services have been adopted by each of Harvard’s schools and units and will be applied as contracts are initiated or renewed.

Student Access to University Decisionmakers

Claim: University leaders have failed to listen to their arguments or seriously consider their proposal for a mandatory wage rate of $10.25.

  • Harvard’s decision not to embrace the sole solution that a small group of students consider legitimate – a mandatory wage floor set at $10.25 – does not mean that University leaders have failed to listen. In fact:
  • President Rudenstine and Provost Fineberg have open office hours on a regular basis in which they meet with any student wishing to consult them on any subject. They have met repeatedly with student advocates of the Living Wage during office hours, during visits to Houses, and at meetings specifically scheduled to issues relating to employment practices at Harvard.
  • The faculty committee appointed by the President to examine employment practices met with student proponents of the Living Wage, invited their written submissions, discussed their proposal at length, and specifically addressed their arguments in declining to adopt a mandatory wage rate in their final report.
  • Members of the Harvard Corporation have declined to meet with students on the ground that employment policies and practice are squarely the responsibility of the University administration.
  • In a statement released on April 23, 2001, President Rudenstine indicated his willingness to continue to exchange views on the subject of employment practices at Harvard, in an atmosphere free of coercive tactics.