The resident assistants of Ithaca College currently do not receive full coverage for their room and board fees and have a submitted a proposal to the president’s office to change this. Rather than full compensation, new RAs currently have 75 percent of their room and board cost covered, while returning RAs have 91.9 percent.
Considering the amount of work RAs put into their job, not being fully compensated for staying in the residential communities they work for is an insult. Due to the unique requirements that come with being responsible for the safety and happiness of residents, being an RA is essentially an around-the-clock job, and the duties that come with the job often need to be fulfilled at odd hours.
It is clear that RAs deserve full coverage of their room and board, but the college has held off on fully compensating them due to financial reasons for over a decade. At most of the college’s peer schools, RAs are fully covered for their room and board or paid an amount that equates to the value of their room and board. At some peer schools, RAs are also given a stipend for the work they do, in addition to being fully covered for their room and board. With so many of Ithaca College’s peer institutions recognizing the work their RAs do for their community, not giving its RAs the same compensation reflects poorly on our institution.
Not fully covering RAs for their room and board is indicative of the college not fully recognizing or appreciating them. RAs are a staple of the college’s residential community, and are a consistent and reliable resource to the thousands of young adults who live on campus. In many ways, RAs are expected to put their residents’ needs above their own, and the least the college can do is compensate them for what they are worth.
Additionally, by not fully compensating its RAs, the college is putting many of them in difficult positions. Due to the extensive responsibilities RAs have, many cannot take on an additional job. This is financially straining, because although the amount of money the college awards RAs toward their room and board is significant, none of those funds go toward an RA’s cost of living in terms of food or any necessities outside of housing. Due to this, many RAs are still struggling to afford to live at the college. Considering the lengths they go to and the dedication they show their residential communities, any RA struggling financially at the college is unacceptable.
By not fully compensating RAs, the college is placing tremendous financial stress on them. Fully compensating RAs is not only imperative to relieving this stress but also to ethically and accurately compensate RAs for the work they do.