RA responsibilities and compensation inconsistent with other on-campus jobs

by Max Carter

Resident Assistant: a title that, at Whitworth, is much larger than just two words. Each year about halfway through the spring semester, freshmen, sophomores and juniors alike turn in applications and go through a comprehensive hiring process, all with the same goal — to become a RA.

RAs are vital to the health and success of any dorm. However, it seems that at Whitworth, the perception of the term RA is one of both respect and superiority.

If the previous paragraph seems like inaccurate, biased ranting, let’s take a look at the numbers.

The President of the Associated Students of Whitworth University is paid at minimum wage for 80 hours per month, eight months out of the year, with a maximum salary capped at 40 percent of tuition, according to the Whitworth University website. That means that his or her total minimum salary is roughly $6,000 and the total maximum salary is roughly $14,000. The salary for a RA is either payment for room and board or the equivalent amount of money paid throughout the school year, according to the Resident Assistant job description on the university website. With a double room and the Traditional A-plan for meals, a RA’s salary comes out to roughly $10,000. Does it still seem like ranting?

Let’s look at some more salaries for student leadership positions.

Small Group Coordinators and Cultural Diversity Advocates make roughly $3,000 a year. Health Advocates make roughly $4,000 a year, according to the university website. The Financial Vice President and Executive Vice President are paid the same as the ASWU President, making between $6,000 and $14,000 a year depending on tuition caps. Lastly, Dorm Senators make roughly $2,000 a year. These are the numbers, they don’t lie.

With the exception of monthly hall activities, RAs have similar responsibilities to Health Advocates, Cultural Diversity Advocates and Dorm Senators. Responsibilities range from running Prime Time, encouraging a strong dorm community and addressing issues in a dorm or hall. Why, then, do RAs receive significantly more money than the other members of their leadership team? This is the question that should be addressed.

This column is not meant to knock RAs. Resident Assistants are important members of the Whitworth community who have gone through a rigorous application process and have contributed greatly to their dorms. This column is meant to bring attention to the perception of Resident Assistants that seems to exist at Whitworth.

It seems as if RAs are put on a pedestal above the other members on their leadership teams, as well as above the average Whitworth student. This is made clear by the amount of money an RA is paid for his or her position.

Whether you agree with that or not, the numbers are undeniable. Being a RA is a commendable and prestigious position, and those holding it deserve credit. But let’s not forget the Dorm Senators, Cultural Diversity Advocates, Small Group Coordinators and all of the other student leaders that help make Whitworth student life run smoothly. And most importantly, let’s not forget the other 2,300 students that attend this university.

Contact Max Carter at mcarter16@my.whitworth.edu

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One Reply to “RA responsibilities and compensation inconsistent with other on-campus jobs”

  1. For starters, RAs attend and plan four times as many primetimes as other leadership positions.Yes, they must have at least one monthly hall activity, but that is also a minimum– many RAs also do weekly hall lunches and additional programming as well. RAs are also essentially on-call 24/7 for any situation, from big 3s and quiet hours violations to medical emergencies, the RA is often the first person a resident goes to for management on the hall.You implied that RAs are put on a pedestal but are undeserving of their salary. I would agree with you that RAs are put on a pedestal and it is yet another reason they are deserving of their pay. RAs are held to higher standards of behavior than other students. Because of that social pressure to be a role model, they are discouraged from swearing, from talking about drugs & alcohol even when legal, from talking about breaking rules with any of their residents. If an RA is caught breaking a rule, even a social one the punishment is more severe than it would be for a normal student. Essentially an RA is on guard in every interaction they have on campus. That pressure has been the main reason a lot of RAs do not reapply. On top of all of this, the primetimes, the hall dates, etc. the stuff that students see are only a fraction of what an RA does. Between the meetings, programming, one-on-ones (oh, so many one-on-ones) big 3 reviews, documenting, emergency situation handling, and a dozen other things that an RA has to do they are putting in many more hours and put under more stress than most other leadership positions on campus. The other positions deserve respect for the work they put in, but if you want to talk about numbers, include the amount of hours the average RA spends on job related activities per week.

    Sincerely,
    A former two-year RA

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