Our nation’s colleges and universities are largely considered the epicenters of the woke generation, arguing for all manner of progressive policies and social reengineering. Paramount among such liberal theories is the idea that there must be fairness in compensation for work, regardless of gender, race or any other criteria you’d care to mention. The little guy (or gal) must be treated fairly, even if it doesn’t suit the bottom line of the callous fat cats who run the world.
One of the largest and best known of our universities is Harvard. Its sprawling campuses are recognizable around the globe and a degree from that institution is generally considered a golden ticket when a young person seeks to launch their professional career. But Harvard, like nearly every other institute of higher learning in America, has been hit hard by the rise of the coronavirus. They’ve had to shutter much of their physical facilities and have moved most classwork online.
That means that the dining halls had to be closed, along with other facilities. But what’s to happen to the hundreds of workers employed there? Surely their wages will be protected during these trying times, right? Not so much… particularly if you’re one of the 275 subcontractors who keep everyone fed. They’ve been told that they need to collect their things and go, with no mention of continuing to pay them. Direct employees of the dining halls fare slightly better. They are getting 30 days of paid leave, but then they’ll need to head for the unemployment lines also. (Free Beacon)
Harvard University, which has the largest endowment of any school in the country, is cutting its subcontracted dining hall workers without pay as it shuts down in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The move is drawing criticism from employment rights advocates on and off campus who point to the university’s $40.9 billion endowment as evidence that the school is hardly in financial straits. They also claim the decision violates Harvard’s wage equality policy, which requires the university to compensate dining hall contract workers in a fashion comparable to the school’s directly hired employees.
Harvard closed campus dining halls and other facilities earlier this month when it transitioned its courses online due to the outbreak.
If we were looking at this from the cold reality of any capitalist system, Harvard’s decision makes sense, right? The dining halls are closed. Nobody is preparing any food and there really isn’t much for the workers to do. Continuing to pay them doesn’t make financial sense.
But those rules shouldn’t apply at Harvard. After lecturing all of us about fairness and pay equity for all of this time, shouldn’t the “little people” be taken care of? And as the Free Beacon points out, it’s not as if they can’t afford it. Harvard’s endowment is the largest in the nation with an estimated value of more than forty billion (with a “B”) dollars. To pay all of those dining hall subcontractors for four weeks would cost them $710,000, a mere drop in the endowment bucket.
Do you know who won’t be losing their jobs or taking a pay cut as we ride out the pandemic? Harvard’s many tenured professors and administrative officials and staff. And it’s a safe bet that they’re bringing home a lot more dough than the lady who’s dishing out the mac and cheese in the cafeteria.
Also noted in the linked report is the fact that not all schools are acting in such a miserly fashion. The University of Chicago is paying all of their subcontractors and other hourly workers through the end of the school year, even while most of them are sheltering in place at home. And that school’s endowment is “only” eight billion dollars. So Harvard isn’t really leading by example here, are they?
If you’re going to lecture everyone else on the immorality of capitalism, you’d best be practicing a lot more socialism yourself. In Harvard’s case, this comes off as pure hypocrisy. But hey… you need to hoard that endowment money for the long run, I suppose.