Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
In a sharply worded letter to the editor in the Phoenix shortly before fall break, Joe Alberti ’06 accused managers at Sharples of mistreating employees and intentionally hiring individuals who won’t complain about inappropriate managerial behavior. Following the initial letter to the editor, Alberti met with Vice President for Administration Larry Schall to discuss the matter further. In addition to his meeting with Schall, the initial letter to the editor resulted in a statement from Human Resources emphasizing that “employees do not get fired for speaking their mind nor do they suffer retaliation for expressing their opinions or views.” In spite of the statement, Schall said Wednesday that no one had come forward to speak about any concerns with him. Schall emphasized that anonymity will be ensured for staff members in such a situation. Schall also noted some reluctance to publicly respond to the matter saying that he doesn’t “think it’s healthy trying to conduct a debate [on this topic] in the media.”
In a statement to the Gazette, Alberti wrote that his “intention was to focus the community’s attention on…an important issue.” In addition, Alberti hoped “that a dialogue could be established that would allow for the concerns raised in my initial letter…to be addressed in a productive environment.”
While the rhetoric remains heated, possibly due in part to the connection between this issue and the campus debate on the implementation of a living wage, the basic disagreement between the parties remains a relatively simple one. Alberti believes that the administration protocols are insufficient since “no pro-active measures will be taken by the administration. Rather the employees still must come forward and address their concerns [related to this issue] with either him directly or human resources.” In contrast, Schall believes the existing practices are appropriate for handling these accusations.