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Pay scale changes to affect future RAs

Laura Haley

News Editor

Due to a budget prediction much lower than the College’s estimations, a change will be implemented in future Resident Assistants’ (RAs) pay, active in the fall of 2019. The change was made known to RAs in an all-staff meeting headed by Nathan Fein, director of residence life and Scott Brown, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, on Oct. 4. In the past, RAs’ salaries were raised each year they returned as staff members. Due to an increase in returning staff this year and not enough resources to fund their pay, the yearly compensation will be adjusted. 

Indicating that RAs will still be paid for their service year to year, Fein specified that the new pay scale will be constructed as a single room at a double rate, with first time RAs receiving 50 percent off of room and meal plan, second-year RAs receiving 60 percent off of room and meal plan and finally, third-year RAs compensated with 70 percent of their room and meal plans. Fein also emphasized that all RA payments act as a direct credit to their student account for room and board, so students would not have tax deducted.

“Like every other department, Residence Life needs to be responsible stewards of the College’s limited resources. The new pay structure will not cut anyone’s pay, and we will still be able to reward and recognize good service by increasing pay from year to year,” stated Fein. 

Although the pay modification will occur for new RAs, it will remain as initially promised to those employed during the 2018-19 academic year who are selected to return for a third year.

“While I’m pleased that the starting pay will remain the same, I am slightly disappointed to see the decrease for second-year RAs specifically. For many, this job helps them afford college, and the second-year decrease will likely push people to work additional jobs to offset the difference, which I’m sure will affect RA productivity in the long term,” stated Holden Hall RA Jordan Griffith ’19. 

Although there is no known plan to eliminate the College’s RA staff, some voiced concerns on the future of their employment.

“There had been rumors of an RA pay reduction and also about removing the entire RA staff as a whole last year,” said Holden Hall RA Saeed Husain ’21. “Now that I’m an RA and I look at all the issues that my residents have sometimes … there is no way a campus could work without RAs.” 

Additionally, Griffith mentioned, “This change in pay also sparked a conversation about what duties RAs may be assigned, and I would hope that with the change in pay, RAs’ roles will be more precisely defined.” Prior to their arrival on campus, RAs were not informed of their mandatory participation in cultural competency and sex education training undergone in RA training. 

 “As RAs we sometimes feel we are underpaid compared to other schools. A lot of RAs, including me, were upset that some of our duties were not exactly defined to us because the contract [reads] ‘other duties as assigned,’ but the intensity of those duties is never defined,” said Griffith.  

Concerning the pay alteration, Fein affirmed, “The most important thing to note is that no one is getting a pay cut. Base pay for all RAs will remain the same.” Despite the pay modification, current RAs believe the update will not prohibit those interested in the job from applying. 

“I think people will still apply to be RAs … [students] may be less motivated, but [it is] still a great role to have on campus,” stated Husain.

 “The logic makes sense, but I think the dean of students and the ResLife leadership need to seriously consider the work RAs do and are expected to do in relationship to their compensation,” stated Griffith. 

 

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