Letter to the Editor: Internship policies shaped by federal labor act

We are concerned by journalism major Kristen Oliveri’s letter to the editor (“Students shouldn’t have to pay for internships,” July 5). Northeastern strives to provide a high-quality co-op experience for students and to accommodate special circumstances when possible. It would not be appropriate for us to comment here on Kristen’s personal situation. However, we would like to inform the university community of the following policies.

Co-op placements run six months and are intended to provide a substantive experience. There are some programs, such as nursing, pharmacy and theatre that offer four-month co-ops. In response to student needs, an exception policy that allows students from other majors to complete four-month co-ops was recently adopted (requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis). All employers must adhere to the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires that all unpaid interns receive college credit for their experience.

We would be more than happy to speak with anyone regarding these policies.

– Lynn W. Lyford is vice president of cooperative education, and James R. Stellar is dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

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