Print journalism graduate students and The Famuan staff are disappointed because they are not sure when they will receive a paycheck. This is the second pay period in a row that the graduate students have not been paid.
“Two weeks ago we were told we were not being paid because we were not certified; this past week academic affairs tells us it’s a glitch in the system,” said Crystal Lewis, 23, a second-year-graduate journalism student from Gulfport, Miss.
According to payroll, the reason why these students have not been paid yet is because all of the contracts for print graduate students and The Famuan staff have not been received yet.
“On Monday, we finally received three more contracts for print journalism graduate students to be processed for payment. Those contracts were supposed to be sent to us two weeks ago,” said Meub Lanh, coordinator for payroll.
According to Ms. Valerie McEachin, program assistant for The Famuan, all of the contracts for The Famuan Staff were sent off at the beginning of September.
“All I do is make sure contracts are typed accurately and then I send them to Ms. Travis to be processed for getting paid. After they leave Ms. Travis, I take them to academic affairs, from there they go to budgets, and from there they are supposed to go to payroll,” said McEachin.
Another reason why these students have not been paid could be a result of the incorrect paperwork being sent off.
Maryann Travis, administrative assistant and payroll representative for the journalism department, said she filled out the incorrect payroll form.
Travis said she filled out the form that read “OPS Staff” instead of “OPS Student” which resulted in the information submitted to academic affairs being sent back for corrections. Further, the forms were never turned in to the office of graduate studies before being sent to the office of academic affairs, which is the correct formal procedure.
Larry Robinson, the Provost and Vice President for academic affairs was very disappointed when he heard of this problem on Monday.
“We have very little patience for issues like this. We should have had the checks earlier so that these students would have definitely been paid and able to take care of their issues,” said Robinson.
However, Michael Abrams, graduate journalism program chair, said the problems result from human error.
“I’m very distressed over this; our students are being treated like second class citizens.” Abrams said. “We sent all our paper work in on time.the provost’s office did not produce the checks on time.
“All returning graduate students and two new graduate students were not paid, and none of The Famuan’s employees received a check,” Abrams said. “I take this personally . they have not been paid in one month.”
And students are feeling the impact of no paycheck.
“I cannot pay my bills; I have a car note, car insurance and rent is due for my apartment,” said Shawnelle King, 23, a second year graduate broadcast journalism student from Portsmouth Va. “I don’t know what is going on but I do know that the problem better be fixed.”
However, the outcome of students being paid late could also be the result of poor planning from this summer.
Phyllis Green, coordinator of administrative service, said it was explained at a meeting this summer that the budget would be given to the program late and the information for students should be collected and processed. However, there was no representation from the journalism department at this meeting.
“We are not saying that anyone is at fault, but we will say that when paperwork is not processed properly students should expect delays,” Green said.
Chanta Haywood, dean of the School of Graduate Studies, said that as far as she knows, the journalism school was the only area affected.
“There is a process in which we operate paperwork called the Hub Champion System. We make sure all paperwork is given to the office of academic affairs on time and correctly,” Haywood said. “When it is turned in to our office late or sometimes not even given to our office, there is nothing we can do.”
According to Robinson, the problem will be reviewed to make sure that this never happens again.
“I have made a commitment to handle the situation and see that it doesn’t happen again,” said Robinson.
Travis expressed her sympathy for the students who did not get paid and wants to reassure everyone that the papers will be reviewed carefully the next time.
“I am sorry and I will work to make sure it will never happen again.”