Plans to house “peace officers” during the upcoming Republican National Convention (RNC) in Case Western Reserve University residence halls have upset many of next year’s residential assistants (RAs), who in the past had been offered free summer housing as part of their compensation package.
Next year’s RAs got an email from Director of Residence Life Janice Gerda informing them of the change two days before they were supposed to sign contracts.
“In past years, the Office of University Housing has been gracious enough to offer incoming RAs summer housing at no charge,” it read. “However, this year, as they plan for a very busy and full summer, they will not be able to make that offer for Summer 2016.”
Many RAs were upset by this, with some relying on the free housing to allow them to take jobs in the Cleveland area over the break. Contract signing was pushed back from its original date in order to facilitate more conversation between the RAs, Office of University Housing and the Office of Residence Life requesting more information.
“We fought back against that because it’s something that’s been in our contracts for the past few years under compensation,” said an RA who wishes to remain unnamed. “This amounts to a pay cut of almost 20 percent.”
Some RAs are being asked to stay over the summer to help with setting up rooms, handling packages, logging keys and other administrative tasks. Gerda’s email mentioned that Housing may be looking for students to help during the convention, and that those students may be in consideration for free housing.
“We’ve always gotten housing for free in the past,” said the RA. “To all of the sudden not get it with no justification just seemed odd.”
University officials released the following statement “Resident Assistants (RAs) will have the opportunity to live in university housing this summer, at no cost, as part of participating in one of three training programs related to their academic-year work as RAs. The university developed the program as part of a review of summer housing practices that representatives from multiple administrative units and the Division of Student Affairs. The new initiative reflects an effort to balance issues related to students’ summer educational and/or employment opportunities, available housing units, applicable tax codes and other regulations.
One of the programs offered to RAs will involve welcoming and assisting individuals living on campus as part of attendance at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Nevertheless, the creation of this initiative was not spurred by or related to RNC. Neither RAs nor any other CWRU student will be displaced or given any less consideration for summer housing options than in any prior year.”