Georgetown University staff have begun raising their voices against Redeploy Georgetown, a recently implemented program assigning them temporary health-related roles during the coronavirus pandemic. With the only alternative being to go on unpaid leave, staff complain that they feel forced to take on jobs they did not apply for.
“It all comes out to the theme of thinking about the budget first, and not people,” Georgetown Alliance of Graduate Employees President Jewel Tomasula told The Washington Post. “Decisions are definitely made without consulting the people impacted.”
The program, which the administration describes as a budget-tightening measure, was designed to make sure university employees remain employed during the pandemic.
Some 200 faculty, students, and alumni have signed an open letter asking the administration to suspend the policy. “Despite efforts to propose alternative programs and to request a more compassionate policy, staff concerns have been entirely ignored,” the letter claims.
While there were town hall meetings with employees, staff contend that decisions about their allocation were made without their knowledge.
Rising cases across the university contributed to the creation of the program, prompting the administration to make sure there was enough support staff to contain the situation. This meant assigning jobs to staff that aren’t part of their job descriptions, which include monitoring individuals entering campus and conducting wellness screenings.
The program involves executive leadership identifying employees based on the department’s “best interest and business needs.” Human Resources then notifies the employee of their assignment, after which they are scheduled for any necessary training and begin their assignment immediately afterward.