With East Carolina University’s shift to online classes due to the outbreak of COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus, students who are employed by the university are concerned about what will happen to their source of income.
Junior environmental health and geography major Amanda Morrison said that she has already lost her job on campus due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Morrison said she worked as a production services technician for the university, which means that whenever any technology is required for an event, Morrison and her co-workers would help set up.
“Yesterday (March 13) we all got emails that we were no longer needed until the end of the semester,” Morrison said.
As with most students, Morrison said she relies on the money made from her on-campus job in order to pay rent. She said that a large worry among her and her co-workers is trying to find a new source of income before the end of the month so that they will be able to pay rent for April.
A report from the Pew Research Center found that the number of students coming from families with financial troubles are rising, which means that more students are going to rely more heavily upon their on-campus jobs to pay for needs like rent or food.
Morrison said that ECU has not offered any support to students who have lost their jobs due to the outbreak, and that communications have not been adequate.
“It seemed to me like we were the last to know about it. We were kinda just like ‘well I guess we’ll keep showing up to our shifts because we haven’t heard any different’ and as people were either going in or leaving, we got the email telling us ‘don’t bother,’” Morrison said.
Senior political science major with a minor in communication, Aaron Long, said he also worked in production services, but he also has a second job with the Student Activities Board (SAB).
Long said that he will have to move back home due to the loss of one of his jobs, but he recognizes that not everyone will be able to have the luxury of returning home.
“I do have friends who cannot go home, and right now they’re just riding on the last paycheck they got and are looking for a new job,” Long said.
Long said he fears that there will not be many businesses hiring new workers during the crisis that is being caused by the coronavirus.
The second on-campus job with SAB that Long had will continue to pay him a stipend due to the need for a small amount of online work, but all other SAB activities have been cancelled, according to Long.
“Most of the events have been cancelled due to the advisory against groups of more than 100 people, and most of our events bring out about 200 or 300 people,” Long said.
The East Carolinian reached out to ECU’s human resources office March 17 and has been unable to get an up to date statement.