Speeches & Commentary

Status of discussions regarding Washington University’s minimum wage

I have been asked about the status of ongoing discussions regarding the university’s minimum wage.  I wanted to share this broadly so that all members of the university community are aware.

Since I assumed my role as chancellor-elect on January 1, there has been a lot of attention given to the issue of the university’s minimum wage.  This is an important issue, and the administration has been giving it serious consideration.  Several members of my university leadership team and I have met with Fight for $15 organizers and other supporters to listen to their concerns and understand their perspective.  These meetings have involved our own students, as well as members of the broader St. Louis community, including members of the clergy.  In each of those conversations, including those that I have participated in personally, we have shared the process underway to determine a path forward:

  • On February 22, I charged a group of senior leaders to develop an issue brief that includes financial and operational considerations as well as an analysis of options.  This group includes the provost, chief administrative officer, vice chancellor for human resources, dean of the graduate school, our legal counsel, and my chief of staff.  They have met several times and already have made substantial progress.
  • That issue brief has just been completed, and I now plan to discuss it with a variety of key stakeholders.  I will make a decision after gaining this input and will share the decision with the university community.
  • I expect this process to be completed by the end of June.

We have been clear and consistent with Fight for $15 leaders about the necessity of this thorough and deliberate process.  I do not intend to divert from it.  At the same time, I do understand that some of our students want to continue to express their position.  Our Student Affairs team has been working to help these students continue to have a public presence on campus in ways that still allow planned university activity to continue.