As a former Knight Library student employee, I am completely bewildered and appalled at the response from library admin. I was one of the anonymous reporters to the Instagram page and actually left my position in the library upon reopening due to the incredible anxiety it brought upon me. Soon after leaving, I had a meeting with Susan Breakenridge, whom I had never had prior contact with, about my resignation letter which addressed some of the COVID-19 concerns I had, in which she quite specifically told me the opposite of what she claims in this interview. I expressed concern for maskless students and how I asked several to wear theirs to which she replied I was not supposed to do this at all. In fact, I'm not shocked protocol may have changed (and for the better, obviously) but her denial of student workers' very real and valid concerns is absolutely appalling as it undermines everything they have expressed.
Lastly, Mark Watson's remarks are what truly sent me over the edge. I often felt exploited, expendable, and generally uncared for at the Knight Library, only to be exacerbated by the pandemic. For Mark, whom I have never met nor even seen in my two and a half years of working there, to have the audacity to say student workers could have “just as easily have spoken” to him instead of posting anonymously is absolutely unbearable. I cannot count how many times student workers, especially myself, brought up concerns only to be immediately shot down by staff and told: "We don't make the rules. It comes from higher up." For library administration to once again push student workers to the side to save their reputation is unacceptable. Nowhere else will you hear the truth than from those faced with the worst of it.
I feel it's unfair for student workers to yet again be gaslit into believing the conditions they're working under are acceptable and in their control. The library administration's response is disgraceful, and I hope some form of reconciliation for student workers can be made, if not to at least give them voice again where it's attempted to be robbed. The Covid Campus Instagram account provides just this — a space for the community to express hurt and hope for solutions. The library administration’s disdain for it may very well be a testament to their values. Let me give you a hint — it’s not in favor of student employees.
Erin Hubbard is a senior at the University of Oregon and is studying cultural anthropology with minors in global studies and ethnic studies.