Letter to the Editor: RAs require no additional compensation

Michael Olausen

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I am a sophomore Resident Assistant in Biever Hall this year, and after reading Jordan Harbaugh’s article concerning the “exploitation of RAs,” I could not sit back and let these comments go without refutation. While I agree with him that we are some of the hardest working members of the community on a daily basis (if the job is done correctly), this does not mean that we should be pampered and given luxuries at the expense of students who wish to attend the university.

The position of RA is not awarded to those who have the most financial need but to those who are most committed to the ideals of the school. As a Jesuit institution, it should be expected of those members in leadership positions to sacrifice a little for the good of the community as a whole. I have heard few complaints from RAs regarding the roommate issue, which is a testament to the care and precision at which Residential Life hires new RAs. Most RAs were more than receptive to the idea of roommates if it meant that more students who wished to become members of our community could do so. The second floor RA of Biever Hall, Moises Perez, even offered to take on a second roommate because of the unfortunate position ResLife was in.

Harbaugh makes an egregious error in mathematical logic in his piece as well: our compensation is based upon the difference between the cost of a single room and a double, and since we are switching from a single to a double, it would seem that Res Life handled this obstacle deftly. If RAs were making this “sacrifice” without compensation, then I might give Harbaugh a slight break on his piece; however, we are being paid weekly to simply coexist with another human being in our spacious rooms. Who should feel bad for us?

Frankly, RAs should be the best suited to take on a roommate, as we are supposed to be able to aid in resolving tense roommate conflicts. I would argue that the roommates are the ones being shafted in this situation, not the RAs, who may as well view the roommates as a source of income. These unfortunate souls (mostly first years) have next to no margin of error to make a mistake (as I am sure the majority of readers did in their freshman year) and are more than likely intimidated by their roommate counterparts, at least a bit.

Finally, I would like to give a shout out to the wonderful people working at Res Life, who have been tremendous and underappreciated in this process. This applies especially to my boss, Alex Kelch, Biever AD, whose passion for her job is truly inspirational and a better leader I could not ask for. Also to Craig Beebe, Seth Hagler, Amy- Jo Boyle, Christina Nielsen and Katie Cannella, who apologized profusely for the aforementioned situation and stand by their RAs with every inch of their being. I think I speak for all the RAs when I say, “Thank you, and we appreciate you.”


Michael Olausen, economics sophomore

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