Furloughs, Interns Poke Holes in Student Affairs’ Feelings of Indispensability

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

by Irma Pelt
Senior Staff Writer

Staff at Saperstein College are experiencing a professional existential crisis after a series of events has caused raised questions about their influence on campus.

“I’m like everyone else in student affairs,” said Megan Haddad, coordinator of student leadership programs. “I believed that the university couldn’t function without me.”

Due to budgetary issues, all full-time staff members were required to take five days of furlough leave before the end of the fiscal year. Though the financial belt-tightening measure was not a popular decision, university administration was not prepared for the overwhelming reaction of staff members upon their return.

“Life went on while I was gone. It doesn’t make sense,” Haddad said. “The work I do is so important to the overall mission of the university… But while I was gone, people kept making plans and sending e-mails and it was like it didn’t even matter that I wasn’t here.”

Haddad said that she has contacted faculty from the philosophy department to help her understand where she fits into the universe.

“I thought I knew my place in this world,” Haddad said. “I was so wrong.”

Further challenging the staff’s self-definition, fifteen interns arrived for assignments to various functional areas of student affairs.

“I know that I’m the best at what I do, but this sniveling little graduate student came in here with her ideas and enthusiasm. I used to spend all summer planning student staff training, but she had it done in two weeks,” said Daniel Britten, assistant director of the Saperstein Union.

Britten has since been assigned to complete furniture counts in common areas of Saperstein’s 41 residence halls.

“I don’t know who I am as a professional anymore,” said Britten. “I was the best at what I do and now I’m being told that I can take time off – and that an intern can do my job. I can’t reconcile this.”