Students Permitted to Work 20 Hours; No QF-Funded Housing During the Summer Break

(Photo/ North by Northwestern)

Student workers at Northwestern University in Qatar will be allowed to work up to 20 hours per week over the summer, according to a combined email sent on Mar. 30 by Indee Thotawattage, interim director of Student Affairs, and Barry Sexton, director of Business and Finance. Student summer housing will not be funded unlike the previous summer, the email added.

“As we look to summer student employment and consider how much support can be provided, as well as how to maximize opportunities for student employment, we have determined that students may work up to a maximum of 20 hours per week,” the email stated.

The 20-hour provision was put forward after a discussion with the working group consisting of NU-Q Student Union representatives, faculty, and staff, the email described. The working group was revealed earlier this year in an email sent out by NU-Q Dean and CEO Marwan Kraidy on Oct. 30. “I have approved an Advisory Committee on Student Employment at NU-Q, initiated and to be chaired by Barry Sexton, our finance director, which will include student representatives,” he said in the email.

The decision differs from the provisions put in place by an email sent on Feb. 24, which allowed students to work 40 hours over the spring break.

“I feel like Business and Finance should be more consistent with their policies because. otherwise, it becomes very inconvenient for students who have to pay their family contribution by themselves,” said Katongo Lungu, a freshman at NU-Q, in response to the update.

The email added that employed students will still require their supervisors’ approval for the summer employment. Students with more than one job will have to abide by the 20-hour limit.

“I can understand the budget issues that the campus has. So, in a way, I’m grateful that we’re able to work for up to 20 hours. But for students on financial aid who need to live in Doha in the summer for various reasons, the stipend from 20 hours of work barely covers one week of rent in the student housing,” said Krishna Sharma, a junior at NU-Q. “Factor in meals and incidental expenses, and you’ll understand how difficult it could get for someone who wants to stay in Doha over the summer.”

Muhammad Sikandar Ali Chaudary, a senior class representative on the NUQSU, shared a similar sentiment. “I think students, and predominantly international students, are always those who are disadvantaged by any policy implementation. For example, we don’t even know how much of the budget was reduced by QF and how much money is being spent on different things within our institution. So just saying that our budget was reduced, and this is why we are not going to provide summer housing to people who need it, it’s very unfair and it’s very discriminatory,” he said.

The email also informed students about a new online student employment app. “Our new online student employment app will now allow student workers to identify the jobs that they plan to work this summer. We hope to have this app available soon,” the email stated.

Another online app developed during the fall semester will also be continued. “We will also continue to use another online app that was developed to help first-year students find work and will now be available to any student who doesn’t already have a job available for summer,” the email added.

The email also informed students about the unavailability of student housing funding over the summer. However, students will still be able to apply for emergency funds and short-term loans in extreme circumstances.

“Students who are in an extraordinary situation can apply to the Student Emergency and Essential Needs Fund for assistance,” the email stated. “Students can also apply for a short-term loan, amounting up to 1,820 QAR, with an ordered-student account.”

Email sent to NU-Q students.

Business and Finance confirmed in an email to the Daily Q that this policy will have no effect on seniors since they don’t qualify for the program as graduates unless professors submit an exception to complete projects.

Students, however, feel this leaves out graduating seniors who might need this support amidst the pandemic or for other reasons. “Even graduating students should be allowed to do summer work…the school has a responsibility for alumni as well,” said Chaudary.

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