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Monday, Dec 11, 2023

Why a(nother) staff issue?

<p>The bottom line is that staff are not just an integral part of our community, they’re the backbone of it.&nbsp;</p>

The bottom line is that staff are not just an integral part of our community, they’re the backbone of it. 

In January 2019, we published our first staff issue. It detailed the impact of workforce planning — a concerted administrative effort to reduce employee compensation costs by 10% —  on the staff of the college. Three years (and one global pandemic) later, we again find ourselves in a critical time to better understand the experiences of Middlebury staff. 

In February, the Staff Council published results from another staff survey conducted throughout the fall, which focused on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, compensation, work-life balance and other important topics relevant to the staff experience. We’ve used this staff survey as a jumping off point for this issue, with the responses informing our reporting and content this week. 

Throughout this issue, you’ll find an overview of the findings from the Staff Council survey, reporting on the challenges of the housing market in Addison County and Monterey, stories of the struggles staff face because of Middlebury’s low wages, collections of staff’s favorite places in town and hobbies outside of work and profiles of Middlebury athletics staff who were professional athletes, along with some of our usual coverage. 

In their 2019 Notes from the Desk “Why a staff issue?”, Nick Garber ’19 and Rebecca Walker ’19, the Managing Editors at the time who spearheaded the creation of the special issue, considered The Campus’ role in reporting on staff. “Does being a student newspaper at a small college mean that we must confine ourselves to student issues? Or does it mean that we can serve as a platform for all stakeholders in our community despite our limited student perspective?” they asked. 

For the three of us, our time spent as editors of The Campus has occurred in the wake of the first staff issue. Now, when we ask ourselves these questions, we are sure of the answer; our editorial focus in recent years has been informed constantly and comprehensively by our belief that a student newspaper can and must serve as a platform for all members of a college community, even (and sometimes most importantly) our staff. 

We hope we’ve honored the resolutions we made in our 2019 staff issue. In that issue, we made a commitment to bettering our coverage of the greater Middlebury community by reevaluating our anonymity policy. This was done in acknowledgement of the precarious positions that staff can find themselves in when sharing their experiences with their employer. In this issue, we renew our commitment to deep reporting on staff concerns and experiences beyond what has been published this week.

To staff reading this issue, we hope we’ve done justice to your contributions, concerns and cares. We hope you’ll continue to share them with us.

Riley Board

Riley Board '22 is the Editor in Chief of The Campus. She  previously served as a Managing Editor, News Editor, Arts &  Academics Editor and writer.

She is majoring in Linguistics as an Independent Scholar and is an English minor on the Creative Writing Track.

Board has worked as a writer at Smithsonian Folklife Magazine and as a  reporter for The Burlington Free Press. Currently, she is a 2021-2022  Kellogg Fellow working on her linguistics thesis. In her free time, you  can find her roller skating in E-Lot or watching the same sitcoms over  and over again.

Lucy Townend

Lucy Townend '22 is a Managing Editor alongside Abigail Chang.

She previously served as a senior section editor, a local editor, and a copy editor.

Townend is majoring in International Politics and Economics, studying  French throughout her years at Middlebury and is planning on completing  a thesis focused on income inequality and regime change.

This previous summer, Townend interned as a private banking analyst  at a mid-sized bank in Chicago and plans to continue her work there  after graduation.

Abigail Chang

Abigail Chang ’23 (she/her) is the Editor in Chief.  

She previously served as a managing editor, Senior News Editor, News Editor and co-host of The Campus' weekly news radio show.  

Chang is majoring in English and minoring in linguistics. She is a member of the Media Portrayals of Minorities Project, a Middlebury lab that uses computer-assisted and human coding techniques to analyze bulk newspaper data.  

Throughout last year, Chang worked on source diversity and content audits for different media properties as an intern for Impact Architects LLC. Chang spent summer 2021 in Vermont, working as a general assignment reporter for statewide digital newspaper VTDigger.  Chang is also a member of the Middlebury Paradiddles, an a cappella group.