Timeline on the Student Worker Alliance Sit-In

April 22

Chancellor Wrighton responds to the SWA students in a letter outlining all the steps the University is planning to take to address mutual concerns about lower-paid workers and what additional steps could be taken if they end the sit-in. He asks them to end the sit-in and take part in the implementation process. The SWA students accept the University’s proposal and begin to vacate the sit-in spaces. Chancellor Wrighton sends a message to the community thanking all who helped bring the matter to a conclusion. He includes a copy of his letter to the students. Later in the afternoon, Chancellor Wrighton meets with members of the media to explain the University’s plan and to answer questions about the sit-in.

To see WUSTL statements to the media, please click here.
To see Chancellor Wrighton’s letters to the community, please click here.

April 21

Chancellor Wrighton receives a letter from the SWA students revising their proposals and indicating their willingness to end the sit-in in South Brookings Hall and Brookings Quadrangle if an agreement can be reached. Chancellor Wrighton tells the students to expect a response from the University by ll am the following day.

April 20

Chancellor Wrighton talks briefly with the SWA students and restates his willingness to meet with them after they discontinue their sit-in. He again invites them to be participants in the University’s plan for addressing the issues they have raised.

April 18

Chancellor Wrighton sends a letter to the Washington University community outlining his late Saturday evening meeting with the SWA sit-in students. He expresses disappointment that the students first agreed to terms of the discussion and then later attempted to alter the agreement with changes and additions that were unacceptable. The SWA students reject his invitation to reaffirm their original commitment and to end their sit-in. The University begins to implement the plan it presented on Thursday, April 14.

April 14

• Chancellor Wrighton met with the students sitting in South Brookings Hall and stressed his concern for the health and well being of the students participating in the hunger strike. He again warned them that he can not allow such self-destructive behavior to continue on this campus.

• Chancellor Wrighton presented a letter giving his personal assurance that the university would move forward with our plan to direct the initial $500,000 to support wages of contract workers and reissued his invitation for the students to have a place on the implementation team. His letter also stated that the University would join the Workers Rights Consortium and pledged to continue our policy of not attempting to influence independent contract service companies with respect to any labor issues between them.

• The SWA students said these points were a step forward but not enough to cause them to stop the hunger strike.

April 13, 2005

• Executive Vice Chancellor John Klein participates in a discussion sponsored by Student Union. Representatives of the Student Worker Alliance and approximately 125 members of the Washington University community are involved in a free and open question and answer session about the complex issues surrounding wages for contract workers.

• The sit-in students receive written notice that they have failed to comply with the University’s request to vacate South Brookings Hall and that they have failed to meet with the Judicial Administrator as required by the Judicial Code.

April 12, 2005

• Vice Chancellor for Students Jim McLeod and Dr. Alan Glass, director of Student Health and Counseling, meet with the sit-in students in another attempt to discourage them from participating in a hunger strike. Dr. Glass advises the students on the serious health implications of their actions and especially warns students who might have a chronic health condition or be taking certain medications.

April 11, 2005

• Executive Vice Chancellor John Klein presents the University’s plan at the University Council meeting and meets with SWA students later in the day. Chancellor Wrighton meets briefly with the students in Brookings Hall. The SWA students do not accept the University’s plan.

• The sit-in students receive formal written confirmation that they are in violation of University Judicial Code for “interfering with the rights of others members of the University community and visitors to the University”.

• Some members of the SWA sit-in group announce that they are going on a hunger strike.

April 10, 2005

• Chancellor Wrighton meets with students and reaffirms the University shared concerns for contract workers

April 8, 2005

• Members of SWA meet with University administrators who clarify the University’s policies regarding peaceful demonstration and verbally notify students that they are in violation of the University’s Judicial Code.

• Chancellor Wrighton invites two representatives of the SWA and the president of Student Union to attend as observers at the University Council meeting on Monday.

April 5, 2005

• Members of SWA begin staging a sit-in at Washington University’s south Brookings Hall in support of increased compensation for contract workers. The University expresses its shared concerns for these issues, and Chancellor Wrighton asks Executive Vice Chancellor John Klein to review the SWA proposal and to make a presentation to the University leadership at the April 11th meeting of the University Council.

• Chancellor Wrighton meets briefly with the students to say he understands the legitimacy of their concerns. The SWA proposal is circulated to administrators for their review and, on April 6, John Klein and key administrators meet with students to clarify their proposal.

April 4, 2005

• The Student Workers Alliance hosts a rally on the steps of Brookings Hall in support of wages for contract workers who are financially disadvantaged. Members of SWA submit their proposal to Chancellor Wrighton.

September 2004

Improvements made as a result of the Task Force recommendations become University’s policy. They include:

• All request for proposals require that outside contractors demonstrate that their wages are truly “competitive” in the St. Louis region.

• The university conducts its own regular, independent assessment of the “competitive” issues relating to contractors and their employees.

• The university makes initial contract awards as well as contract renewals based on a range of issues related to how a contractor treats its employees including: providing good grievance procedures and a safe and respectful working environment.

Spring 2004

• In Spring 2004, a Task Force composed of students, faculty, and administrators was formed to make recommendations regarding Principles and Guidelines for Basic Services and Contracts. The May 2004 Task Force report resulted in revised principles and guidelines for service contracts with outside companies that provide basic services.