Media Advisory: Update on Student Worker Alliance sit-in at Washington University

Over the weekend, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton engaged — at their request — in direct conversation with four students representing those conducting the sit-in in South Brookings Hall and Brookings Quadrangle. Conditional on their agreement to immediately end their sit-in and hunger strike, the University and the students reached an understanding on several issues, including resources, future meetings, and the resolution of sanctions for violations of the University’s Judicial Code. The four students agreed to both the terms of the discussion and the predetermined conditions for going forward with the understanding that had been reached.

Much to the University’s disappointment, others outside the chancellor’s meeting with the four students took the position that they could further alter this agreement and yet still receive the new proposals put forward by the University. The SWA’s last-minute alterations and additions were unacceptable in substance and because they represented a retraction of their earlier agreement. Chancellor Wrighton told them that this would remove the University’s new proposals from consideration and that the University would proceed with the plan announced last Thursday.

Inaccurate reports indicate that the new proposals discussed during Saturday night’s meeting reflect the University’s current position. In fact, none of what happened in that meeting is currently under consideration — due to the failure of the sit-in participants to proceed with the commitment they gave to terminate their sit-in. Chancellor Wrighton personally delivered this message to the sit-in participants late Saturday night and again gave them the opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to cease their sit-in. They declined to do so.

University administrators have talked frequently with the students from the very outset and have earnestly and patiently sought a resolution. Chancellor Wrighton has a responsibility to all Washington University students and the entire University community, not just to the students occupying South Brookings. In good faith, the University has provided a plan and a process that begins to address the wage and benefit concerns for lower-paid contract workers. The University hopes all members of its community will join in working toward the plan’s implementation.