Yager: Major flaws in payroll leave students at a monetary disadvantage

Cash. Bucks. Money. The green – and sometimes pinkish – stuff that makes the world go round. As a society that exchanges these slips of paper or bits of information for goods and services, we require a constant supply of currency.

It's the simple economics of the profit motive: we work. There are farmers, mechanics, engineers, teachers, writers and countless other professions in which an estimated 140 million people work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even here at Geneseo there are students that take the time to recoup some of their losses created simply in the act of paying for college. What happens to those students – over 400 at current count – if there is an error, a simple mistake, that costs them two weeks of pay?

On the surface, students lose whatever pay it is they would have earned that pay cycle. Chump change to some, but to the typical college student, that meager paycheck is all they get. To those who don't know, Geneseo payroll has a system that grants those working for the university a paycheck bi-weekly offset by three weeks. That's right. Everyone's paychecks are for a pay cycle that is completed three weeks previous. Add that to the one-week wait for direct deposit and students have to wait four weeks at the earliest for their first paycheck of the year.

Then there is the major flaw with the payroll system at Geneseo. With the exception of Campus Auxiliary Services, all work times for students are managed with paper time sheets. After being filled in by students the time sheets are approved by the students' supervisors and sent to the payroll office. While there, the necessary funds are allocated to the students' accounts and somewhere down the line checks are cut and money is transferred. If any link in the chain happens to falter, however, the pay will either come two (read as three) weeks late at best, or at worst totally forgotten about by everyone except the disenfranchised student.

You might say, "Well, Nick, those working for the university would have every reason to make sure that the necessary exchange is completed." Not really. The student, of course, has every reason to make sure that their money fills their pockets, but to the supervisors each of us is just another student, and to those in payroll just another "G number." So if a time sheet is late, there's no problem, right?

But there is a problem. Money makes the world go round and without it students can no longer fill in their part of the profit motive equation. We cannot buy things from Geneseo's stores, we cannot invest what little money we have, let alone plan ahead for the things that we need if there is no chance that we can afford it. To add insult to injury, we the unpaid students lose confidence in the institution as a whole. Why work if you're not getting paid? Why trust that someone will hold up their end of the monetary bargain if the money is not flowing your way?

Let's fix this system before it gets even more out of hand. Geneseo should adopt a strict online option that cuts out the departmental middlemen and guarantees that we students will get our just desserts. Oh, and it's time to end this three-week wait silliness. If I work for two weeks, I want my pay my Friday evening.