The Ivy Coach Daily

October 18, 2021

Admissions Staffers at Hamilton Unionize

Student workers within Hamilton College’s admissions office have voted to unionize.

Student workers at Hamilton College, one of the top liberal arts college and notoriously also one of the most expensive, have voted to unionize. Based on a vote of 25 to 20 counted by the National Labor Relations Board, the student workers at Hamilton opted to become part of a union, a rarity in American college admissions offices. Yet it could be a sign of things to come as when one domino falls, others tend to follow. Will Hamilton College be a trailblazer in this regard? Will student workers in admissions offices across the land soon unionize and, if so, do we care? Not really. We don’t see it impacting students navigating the churning waters of elite college admissions — whether workers in admissions unionize or not. Yet a task of our college admissions blog is to report on all the goings-on in admissions at elite universities so we’ll relay the facts in any case.

As Scott Jaschik reports for Inside Higher Ed in a piece entitled “Are Unions Coming to the World of Admissions?,” “David Hawkins, chief education and policy officer of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, said via email that ’as with any precedent-setting event, it seems likely that we could see efforts to replicate a union petition in other settings. From that perspective, admission offices would probably be well-advised to consider this a possibility on their campus.’ Will unions be helpful for admissions? ’We will get varying opinions from throughout the admission profession about whether unionization would be objectively good or bad, but the one consistent response I believe we would get is that establishing unions in this context will introduce a new, more complex system for working with undergraduate students.”

We know. Yawn. Students — even student workers in admissions — are generally not decision-makers in the admissions process at elite universities so frankly whether or not they unionize isn’t all that interesting to us. In any case, congratulations to the student workers at Hamilton for leading the charge, we guess? ZZZzzz.

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