In Support of Swarthmore’s Commitment to Pitiful Wages

Photo Credit: The Swarthmore Fire Moose

Working is not easy. Some may even call it hard. Recently, students and staff at Swarthmore College have expressed their desire to be paid more for the countless hours they spend each week ensuring that the college functions.

The Swarthmore Fire Moose is categorically opposed to this request.

Our reasons for opposing the wage increase are pragmatic and principled. First, the grab bag of humiliations and cruelties we call the economy simply wouldn’t allow it. As any first-semester economics student will tell you, any increase in spending would create a “spooky bad scary time” for the college’s finances. As the talented arborists on campus could tell you, money does not grow on trees. Money used to increase wages would have to necessarily come from other valuable expenses. We cannot, in good faith, go along with a plan to increase wages that would require the college to redirect resources away from vital projects like digging holes and building fences. Just look at how Amherst’s far higher minimum wage has caused their dramatic plummet in the US News rankings to two places above Swarthmore.

Second, we question if a wage increase is even needed. After all, debilitating poverty builds character. A good old “bootstraps” mentality is necessary for this late-stage capitalist hellscape. For example, we at the Swarthmore Firemoose have completely internalized the belief that we — as humble editors — are worthless and contribute nothing of value to the institution. More of our peers need to realize that working at Swarthmore is meant to be like waiting in the Crumb line: a nearly unending trial with the vague mirage of a reward on the horizon. 

It has also come to our attention that some students and staff are actively organizing for change outside of official channels. A subset of these troublemakers even hopes to encourage faculty to do the same. We at the Swarthmore Fire Moose find this agitation appalling. Social change can only come after decades of long, grueling top-down bureaucracy, after which minimal if any change is enacted. Organizing never leads to any good. Look to the drastic failures of the fraternity sit-ins, which were widely regarded as the tragic end to parties on campus. 

Is all of this unfair? Maybe, but the power structures in place have greatly benefited those who make these decisions, and those people make up 100% of the collective parentage of the Fire Moose. Who can expect our esteemed President Valerie Smith to focus on college issues instead of taking another corporate board position?

So in line with the admin’s ongoing policy of ignoring faculty, staff, and student voices, we have several alternative proposals to quell this ongoing wage dispute: 

  1. Encourage faculty and staff to “just live in the moment” for once
  2. Have the Swarthmore board commit to a symbolic, imaginary wage increase
  3. Reward every Swarthmore worker with one free trip to Disney World (pending a lottery of the two-seat roster)
  4. Ask students to patiently wait until the fundamental structure of the U.S. economy changes
  5. Promote foraging from the Crum Woods
  6. Exile unruly students to Mary Lyon Dormitory as punishment for dissent
  7. Reduce payroll expenses with a ritual killing of all firstborn workers
  8. Have “Do it yourself” dining hall experiences every other Wednesday
  9. Initiate free bussing to the local food bank
  10. Let all student organizers graduate

Unlike the pinko Marxists advocating for wage increases, we propose achievable solutions to the wage crisis on campus. A five-dollar-an-hour increase to a barely livable wage is unimaginably impossible. Nobody should support the protest this Friday, much less Solidarity at Swarthmore. We instead hope to see you at our Rob Goldberg appreciation breakfast in his living room this Saturday. 

Stay Fiery.

Stay Moosey.

-The Swarthmore Fire Moose

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