Dear Stanford administration,
We got our admitted students’ boxes on Friday: a cap, cup, bag, lanyard and puzzle wrapped up in a cardinal-red box that proclaimed there is “A place for you here.” We started excitedly working on the puzzle, but what we couldn’t piece together was the news we received a couple days earlier: Stanford hasn’t committed to paying its subcontracted workers through the end of the academic year. This “place for us” has been created by Stanford’s dedicated workers, who deserve a continued place in the community. Stanford’s failure to compensate subcontracted workers through the end of the academic year caused our idealized image of the University to fade away, piece by piece.
Many of us applied to Stanford because of its commitment to creating a place for students coming from all backgrounds. Our class includes undocumented, minority and first-generation students — we are writers, musicians, engineers, innovative thinkers and dreamers. As Stanford believed in all of us, we believe in Stanford’s ability to uphold its core values. So we find Stanford’s unwillingness to compensate all of its subcontracted workers particularly appalling and contradictory to the Stanford values we fell in love with when we applied.
Therefore, we, as admitted students to the Stanford class of 2024, stand in solidarity with Stanford Students for Workers’ Rights to insist that the University ensure full income and benefits for all of its workers through the end of the academic year. While we are grateful that Stanford is paying full income and benefits to direct employees, subcontracted workers are just as integral to the Stanford community. We were pleased to see Stanford commit to working with contract firms to maintain “income and benefits” for employees through June 15, but subcontracted workers face significant social and economic risks and deserve the University’s unwavering support. We’re eager to see greater transparency and a clear commitment from the University to compensate these workers with full income and benefits.
Other peer institutions, such as the University of Chicago, Duke and MIT have pledged to pay subcontracted employees through the academic year despite having smaller endowments than Stanford does. As May 1 approaches, Stanford’s treatment of its subcontracted workers will certainly play a role in where we choose to enroll. However, even beyond that date, we will continue our advocacy for subcontracted workers, because we are committed to enrolling at an institution that recognizes the integral contributions of its subcontracted workers. As prospective freshmen invested in Stanford’s future and moral integrity, we hope that the University ensures compensation for all its workers through this difficult time. Ultimately, we hope you will protect all the pieces of the puzzle that ensures a place for all of us in Stanford’s vibrant and inclusive community.
Abranette Barry, prospective member of ’24
Lindsay Carlin, prospective member of ’24
Andrew Hong, prospective member of ’24
Jessica Lee ’24
Kaushikee Nayudu ’24
Caroline Skwara ’24
Jessica Zhu ’24
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