University of Georgia residential assistants will have their paychecks cut in half starting the upcoming fall semester.
Their checks will be reduced from currently about $400 a month — $4,483 per academic year — to around $200 a month. In lieu of this monetary change, RAs will now receive 105 meal swipes at UGA dining halls and $110 in Paw Points instead, which can be used at campus eateries, according to an email sent to RAs on Feb. 15.
University Housing made this change to help RAs be more successful at their jobs, Housing said in an emailed statement. These changes amount to the same value as the previous package, Housing said.
“Part of the RAs job is to be accessible, visible and build community, which for many, takes place in the dining halls during meals,” the statement reads.
This change applies to advocates for Continuing the Legacy of African-American Student Success, known as CAs, who also live in residential halls and help black students by enhancing communication between staff and all students.
RAs and CAs previously received a compensation package that consisted only of a monetary stipend and University Housing lodging.
Housing said it was intended that part of the monetary stipend would go toward a meal plan. For next semester, Housing partnered with UGA Dining Services to redirect this compensation directly toward meal plan, leaving RAs with no choice on what to spend that portion of their check on.
With 105 swipes, RAs will have about 6 meals per week at the dining hall during their semester of employment, which lasts from Aug. 1 until Dec. 14. These meals can be supplemented with the $110 in Paw Points as well.
Housing said this change was based on a suggestion from an employee in February 2018 and was also run by the new Student Staff Advisory Board.
“This is an option that has not existed in the past for all staff members and it is hopeful that the plan offers additional flexibility for you to be successful in your work,” the Feb. 15 Housing email reads.
In an informal survey sent into a RA group chat, 87.5 percent of the 80 people who responded said they were not happy with the new compensation package.
In an RA’s contract with University Housing, the student employee agrees to “not speak to any media/communication outlet as a representative of the University or University Housing.”
Any Housing employee that The Red & Black has contacted will not go on record or give any comment on this pay cut because of this section in their contract.
Because student employees are considered temporary, the university can fire an employee “at any time for any reason without notice,” according to the UGA Human Resources Administrative Practice Manual.