Rosendo “Ross” Levin ’15 extends another opportunity to be awesome to you:
Fresh off a wild ride of a spring break with the Poor People’s
Economic Human Rights Campaign, a few Wesleyan students will be
talking to you about how you can join into the next step in an ongoing
experience of learning by living, communal living, anti-poverty
organizing and bridging barriers through dialogue and action in one of
the poorest urban neighborhoods in the country. The Poor People’s
Economic Human Rights Campaign is the largest multi-racial poor
people’s movement in the United States. In Philadelphia, the affiliate
organization is led by Cheri Honkala, the organization’s National
Coordinator and 2012 Green Party candidate for Vice President. The
Philadelphia affiliate has many roles–it is a political voice for the
poor, it works to solve the problems of poverty (such as housing,
welfare, and food), and it works to organize so that society can be
more fair and cooperative. Interns will help in the daily operations
of PPEHRC, doing everything from working on the occupied farm to
collecting information for housing takeovers to creating fliers to
distributing food to helping people move through bureaucracy to
writing grants to marching, and much else. Internships are also
possibly available in other cities with PPEHRC affiliates, please be
in touch if you would like more information.
Date: Tuesday, 4/23
Time: 4:15-5:15 PM
Place: 41 Wyllys Ave, Room 110
Did you know Alma Sanchez-Eppler ’14 has a hyphenated last name? The hyphen’s right there; see for yourself! The world is crazy sometimes!!!
Hello Wes Activist!
Do you love the UOC?
Would you want to support the work of student activists, oversee this amazing student space, and get paid while doing it?
The office of Student Activities and Leadership Development is now accepting applicants for next year’s University Organizing Center Intern. Click HERE to learn more about the position.
Click HERE to Apply!
The deadline for applications is April 18.
We’re now four weeks into break with one left to go. As a senior back on campus, I can tell you it seems a lot of people have found excuses to come back early. Is break too long, or does it offer the optimal amount of time to get a job, an internship, work on one’s thesis, or do something else productive? Regardless of how you feel, your parents sure have opinions. Some gems from the “parents_talk” listserv:
“At this moment we Californians are blessed with a relaxing, sunny (as in no snow) riotous (bumpy backroad stand-up-in-the-jeep) vacation with our daughter who is also preparing for her upcoming “internship” when we return to the Bay Area. It couldn’t be sweeter. That said, in speaking to her about the viewpoints expressed here, she’d gladly “trade” several winter break days for a couple of extended weekends with no classes to get on top of the voluminous workload at school…just because she loves it so much!!” – P’15
“If you live in a rural college town that is also dormant for part of Wes’s break, there are no museums open. Many local businesses also close. The local college kids sew up any internships, via long-standing program relationships. Sleeping, movies, reading, and walks are fine for a few weeks, as is visiting, but eventually sibs and high school friends head back to school. And the Wes kid – is – still – on – break. It’s like waiting for Godot.” – P’15
“My daughter works SO hard on her double majors at Wes that she both needs and benefits from the downtime over winter break. I know she is going back re-charged and ready to give her best for the spring semester and have no problem with the well deserved rest.” – P’?
“The time away has afforded my son the opportunity to experience unique travel and service programs related to his life and learning at Wes. He is currently in Africa, and is working with the people in rural areas, as well as with the small businesses looking to launch successful entrepreneurial ventures. I think this is an important part of his learning experience.” – P’14
Also of note, Roth mentioned “thinking now about new January programs” in his latest blog post. Read past the jump for more thoughts from our parents. Also, as always, please share your thoughts in the comments section.
Worked an internship, job, fellowship, or program this summer? Want to win a $50 raffle? Jennifer Healey of the Career Resquash Center could use your help:
Enter your summer internship, job, fellowship or program into the WesSID Career Center database! Entry takes < 5 minutes and you can remain anonymous. Students who enter will automatically be eligible to win one of two $50 gift cards in the Career Center raffle. Go to Student Portfolio > Career Resources > WesSID Entry Form to submit your summer experience on or before September 20.
Date: any time
Place: your student portfolio
Reward: $50 gift card
Lee ’10: “If I ever become a famous filmmaker, I promise I will pay my interns.”
Wesleyan is in the New York Times this weekend. So are unpaid internships. It’s not what you think.
First there was the story of Alex Footman ’09, the aspiring filmmaker and Wesleyan graduate who served as unpaid production intern on the set of Black Swan in 2009 and later brought a highly publicized open class-action lawsuit against Fox Searchlight Pictures for labor exploitation. (Footman penned a New York Times op-ed in February, imploring the Labor Department to “take this matter seriously and step in to enforce its regulations.”) Then there was Lucy Bickerton ’08, the latest Wesleyan alumnus to turn an entertainment industry internship into a well-publicized lawsuit. Bickerton interned for PBS interviewer Charlie Rose in 2007. She “did everything an employee does except collect a paycheck,” she now claims. So, half a decade later, she’s suing for the minimum wage compensation she says she is owed.
The latest New York Times piece, headlined “Jobs Few, Grads Flock to Unpaid Internships,” casts an eye on the circumstances that lead to these lawsuits. It mentions Eric Glatt, the 40-year-old intern who sued Fox Searchlight with Footman, but not Footman himself or Bickerton. Its point: unpaid internships are no longer the domain of the summer vacation. Rather, in this job market, “many college graduates who expected to land paid jobs are turning to unpaid internships to try to get a foot in an employer’s door.” And today, postcollege internships are available not only in nonprofit work, but also in “fashion houses, book and magazine publishers, marketing companies, public relations firms, art galleries, talent agencies,” and even some law firms.
It doesn’t take journalist Steven Greenhouse ’73 long to arrive at the exploitative side of the practice. (Edit: frequent commenter John Wesley writes in to let me know that the article’s author is an alumnus as well.]
“I hope this lawsuit will help reverse the trend of unpaid internships replacing entry level opportunities.”
What is it with unpaid interns these days? Specifically, ones who graduated from Wesleyan. With film degrees. Between 2008 and 2009. And want to go into the entertainment industry. In New York. They’re going mad.
Or just demanding what is rightfully theirs.
Earlier this year, we reported on the Curious Case of Alex Footman ’09, an unpaid intern on the set of Black Swan who is seeking legal action against Fox Searchlight Pictures for what he regards as improper and illegal internship hiring. He is even seeking an injunction against Fox Searchlight for hiring similarly uncompensated interns in the future. When Footman penned a New York Times op-ed supporting stricter government oversight of unpaid internships, I posed the question: are unpaid internships necessarily exploitative? How can they be made fairer? Can they?
Lucy Bickerton ’08 is the latest Wesleyan alumnus to register her frustration with the unpaid internship system, specifically of the film and entertainment industry variety. Bickerton, a documentary filmmaker, is taking legal action against PBS interviewer Charlie Rose after interning for him in 2007, the summer before her senior year at Wes:
She says she toiled away 25 hours a week from June to August 2007, researching for the host, putting press packets together, escorting the guests and cleaning up after the show.
Bickerton, who went into documentary filmmaking after she graduated in 2008, did everything an employee does except collect a paycheck, she says in the suit. State law prohibits unpaid interns unless they are being trained and not performing in place of paid employees.
Sound familiar? Nearly five years later, Bickerton claims she was entitled to compensation of at least minimum wage of $6.75 to $7.15. Appropriately, Bickerton’s lawyer says she “sought legal advice after hearing that others who had worked for no pay as interns in the media industry had sued the Hearst and Fox organizations.” Go Wes. I decided to contact Bickerton to figure out her own perspective on the suit—and what it means for Wes students. Read on for a brief interview.
Debate: is it time for the unpaid intern to rise up?
Most students leave their unpaid internships with a few bullet points on a resume, maybe a letter of recommendation—standard mementos from a few months spent running errands or exploring the sensual world of data entry. Not so for Alex Footman ’09, who emerged from his internship on the set of Black Swan with an open class-action lawsuit against Fox Searchlight Pictures and national media coverage. Not bad for a lowly intern, eh?
We reported on the lawsuit in November, when NPR picked up the story. The gist of it is simple: Footman, an aspiring filmmaker, claims that his six-month internship with Black Swan was nothing more than unpaid labor (preparing coffee, taking lunch orders, running errors); that “it was not a learning experience” or one that advanced his career in any way; and that Fox Searchlight had broken minimum wage and overtime laws by using unpaid interns without providing any educational value in return. (Labor laws presently permit employers to hire unpaid interns as long as they provide a reasonably valuable educational experience in return.)
So he’s suing not only to be paid for the hours he worked, but also to prevent Fox Searchlight from using intern labor in the future.
That about brings us to this week, when Footman penned a New York Times op-ed arguing for increased government regulation of unpaid internships and active enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act. “The expectation that interns can regulate this practice,” Footman claims, “is absurd.” They have, after all, neither the work experience nor the legal expertise to rail against a system that’s exploiting them:
Want a great internship this summer? Deadlines are approaching fast! Come eat pizza and talk with the Career Center about the best way to plan for summer opportunities.
- Date: Friday, November 18
- Time: Noon
- Location: PAC 001
As Winter slowly peels back its rough insurgency against Spring (and what a tough bastard it is), we see peeking over the horizon small hints of Summer and everything it brings – flip-flops, sunshine, warm (see: boiling hot) weather, people with marginal articles of clothing on them, long afternoons by the lake, and – indeed – internships.
FUCKING. Intern. Ships. And, with the economy the way it is and firms the way they are, it’s more likely than not that you progressive kids who choose the summer path of internship will be doing so without receiving even a dime from they who choose to “employ” you (in fact, it’s probably the case that you’re shelling out quite a bit for the whole experience). It’s a bit of a strange system, when you really think about it, even more so when you consider colleges – the very institutions that are supposed to help us get paid at the end of the day – are a vital component of this complex.
This is the principal issue that Ross Perlin, a youngish Stanford-produced semi-intellectual, addresses in a recent op-ed published by the NYT last Saturday.
“Colleges,” writes Perlin, “have turned internships into a prerequisite for the professional world but have neither ensured equal access to these opportunities, nor insisted on fair wages for honest work.” Colleges. What bastards.