Oberlin’s Office of the Student Treasurer is considering adopting a new approach to timecard collection for certain stipended student organizations, including the Sexual Information Center, The Grape, and the Review. Recent confusion about the submission of timecards — whether individual student workers should submit their hours via a Google form as opposed to organizations submitting timecards — resulted in many students paid through OST not receiving payment for two pay periods, or about one month’s time.
OST leadership said that the goal of transitioning into an online collection method is to combat the fact that some student organizations were receiving payment that did not correspond to their assigned stipends.
“It was brought up that we should bring timecards in-house to OST because there have been incidents in the past where we find out that people are being paid for hours that they do not necessarily work, or that they are overpaying themselves,” College junior and Assistant Student Treasurer Nae McClain said. “We thought it would be better to do it in-house because we have the budgets and can triple check who’s being paid, and what hours they are being paid for.”
OST informed groups that payment processing could change and acknowledged the potential creation of an online form to track hours worked. In an email on March 6. OST requested that groups submit their hours worked through a Google form for informational purposes only. Many groups believed that OST was requesting that organizations now submit online time cards exclusively.
“I let people know that there might be something to look out for,” said OST member and Student Finance Committee Operations Manager Elijah Aladin. “The email that I sent had a Google form attached to keep track of hours. One of the issues we have is keeping accurate records of what people are actually working versus what they are stipended for. Otherwise we are allocating the stipend based on pure trust. … But I was basically just trying to collect records.”
However, many students in affected student organizations were frustrated by the email and subsequent communications.
“Four days after [OST] sent the email, I emailed [OST] and I asked about it,” said SIC Treasurer Taylor Andrews. “We had contacted OST and were asking what was happening, and why. We couldn’t get a response back.”
Some members of the groups were worried about the added financial stress this may cause members of their organizations.
“We really try to hire diverse staff here at the SIC,” Andrews said. “That includes people of different socioeconomic statuses. A lot of us can’t not get paid for our hours.”
Moving forward, OST hopes to adopt a new policy for timecard collection that will make the process fairer and more efficient, but is not focusing on developing that policy at this point in the semester.
“Switching to the new system is not a priority,” Aladin said. “It’s not even supposed to be brought up right now, there are so many other things.”
In addition to the Review, SIC, and The Grape, OST, SFC, and Student Senate were also not paid for approximately one month’s time due to an internal issue. OST is in the process of filing back payments for these groups, and they are expected to receive payment within the next two weeks.