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EDITORIAL: University staff deserve more respect — treat all people with kindness

While we all contend with stress, it is important we do not take those frustrations out on everyone around us

A sense of community must extend to everyone at Rutgers, which can only be fostered through being respectful and mindful of others. – Photo by Randalyn Hill / Unsplash

It is that time of the semester again, those dreaded few weeks before spring break. The papers, the assignments, the work, it all accumulates and starts to feel suffocating. The feeling that the semester is going by quickly sets in, the fear of deadlines hits, us and the seemingly impossible task of writing papers worries us. It is midterm season.

Midterms are never fun. They are stressful in a regular semester, and that stress is only more pronounced when you add in the fact that we were learning remotely for the first two weeks of the semester. We were then expected to return to campus and jump right back into full schedules and the typical chaos of school life.

Stress might be a reason — but it is certainly not an excuse — some people have been treating service workers at Rutgers poorly. Regardless of if we are stressed, busy or in a funk, we never have the right to treat people, especially workers, poorly. 

Whether they are bus drivers, work in housekeeping and sanitation, in dining halls or anywhere that constitutes direct contact with students, Rutgers employees work hard and deserve our utmost respect and kindness. 

There have been several instances that we, as members of the Rutgers community, have witnessed these past few weeks that we find discouraging and need to comment on them. Whether it is mocking bus drivers, making residence hall bathrooms unnecessarily messy or treating the dining staff poorly: These instances underline our need, as a school and as individuals, to be more decent to each other. 

We all understand the problems of the buses and we all want the buses to be more efficient. No one feels those frustrations more than bus drivers. Instead of taking out our frustration on them, we must remember that they do not control the way Rutgers decides how to operate the buses. 

Taking frustrations out on drivers, whether that be verbal confrontation or other avenues, is not right. We must remember that if anything happens — if the bus is damaged, if a verbal confrontation leads to an accident, the bus driver is held accountable for that. What might be a minor inconvenience to us is a matter of the driver's job security and their ability to live. 

Instead of expressing that displeasure toward the bus drivers, we should advocate for better bus policies and better transportation alternatives at the University. It would be a more productive use of our time.

Several steps should be taken to remedy these concerns. First, the University should reimagine the bus system, which extends beyond adding more routes or making the buses more efficient.

The University should consider hiring more bus drivers and making it a more appealing job — bus drivers should get paid more and have better working conditions, and they should be shown even more respect from the University leadership.

As Resident Assistant Appreciation Day just passed, we should have a similar mindset when we treat and think about all service workers at Rutgers. It also should not be a single day but a continuous mindset, so that everyone acknowledges and respects all workers.

In having these days of appreciation, workers at Rutgers will know that not only their work matter, but they also matter. It will be a mark of not just our appreciation but also of our respect. 

Other courses of action must come from the student body. We, as students, must exercise more common decency and treat people everywhere, in every position, with the courtesy and due regard that they deserve.

This can take on a variety of forms, whether it is a simple greeting and a smile or holding a genuine conversation: These things show that we are invested in our community.

This time of year is stressful for everyone. We all want to do well, we all are figuring out our summer plans, and we all have a lot going on. But we do not live in a vacuum, where it is only our needs or our issues that matter. Despite these circumstances, though, we can never resort to being rude to those around us.

The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 154th editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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