Student employees left without income

Isabella Pacinelli, Features Editor

Ashland University and much of the United States has been put on halt due to the growing coronavirus pandemic.

For students, this means a switch to online courses and many cancelled plans. Additionally, there is also the concern of a new-found financial instability. Student employees have been left without jobs on campus.

Joshua Hughes, AU director of human resources, states that the health and safety of students, faculty and staff has been the number one priority during the outbreak of COVID-19.

“For the same reasons the University suspended face-to-face instruction, the decision was made to pause most student employment,” he said. “A few student employment positions continue to operate in critical Safety Service and IT areas.

Hughes is hopeful that other positions will resume when it becomes deemed safe and reasonable to do so.

Caleb Sommer, junior integrated social studies major and facility manager at the AU rec center, was planning to “roll with the punches” during this short period of unemployment. Little did he know that it would be the rest of the semester.

“I’m a pretty relaxed person and I have a firm belief that everything happens for a reason,” he said. “The panic started to set in when I realized the US administration was not doing everything possible to create a safe environment, even ignoring the virus as a whole.”

Sommer’s efforts have turned to applying to stores such as Kroger and Aldi in an attempt to make up for his loss of income.

“I’ve even floated around the idea of applying for unemployment as a last resort,” he said. “When it’s all said and done, the bills have to be paid and if there’s no source of income, those bills can’t be paid.”

Sommer has been forced to tap into his savings account that was being used as a blanket fund for when he graduates. Every purchase made has been for essential things like gas and bills.

He joked that he is both envious of and grateful for those who are still working such as truck drivers, grocery store workers and medical professionals.

“Without medical professionals or anyone else essential we would be in a far worse state,” Sommer said. “Often they’re exposed to far worse situations than someone staying at home and I think only now are we realizing the importance of who they are and the jobs they fill.”

Senior business administration and sport management double major, Samuel Wilson, has had to change his outlook on future plans.

As a mixologist at Tuffy’s smoothie bar, he became used to receiving a paycheck every two weeks. Now that he is unemployed, he has had to shift focus from searching for a full-time job to a part-time job.

“It is hard to get employers to answer back during this time and jobs are limited,” Wilson said.

As a result of monthly expenses, subscriptions and fraternity dues, he has not been able to save up money for this sort of situation.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would have to save money for a global pandemic,” he said. “I have really had to depend on my family in these times.”

Wilson admits that his biggest stressor has been putting his after-graduation plans on hold.

“For me, the goal has always been to have a career out of college but now having to put it on the backburner causes a lot of stress,” he said. “I have been sending out applications to jobs for months now, but most businesses have put the hiring practices on hold.”

As a senior, it has also been hard for Wilson to grasp the full scope of what he has lost.

“For college seniors, including myself, that didn’t know we’d never see a classroom again as a student, that haven’t said goodbyes you thought you had time for and are having trouble finding employment, we are all in a tough position,” he said.

During this time of fear and uncertainty, AU students can take comfort in the fact that everyone is going through it together.