ResLife staff to lose guaranteed housing

Starting this year, student staff members of Residence Life will no longer receive guaranteed housing after completing their year of duty.

It was part of Residence Life policy in the past to offer guaranteed housing to its student staff members as a bonus.

This bonus was granted to students the year after they served their term on staff. This meant that a student could work for Residence Life one year, and then be guaranteed a place to stay on campus the next year even if he or she chose not to work for Residence Life again.

The only condition by which a student would not be granted guaranteed housing was if the student was entering his or her fifth year at the College.

Now, staff members who decide not to continue in the Residence Life program will receive lottery numbers without the stipulation that they be guaranteed for their next housing assignments.

Michael Robbins, First Year Experience (FYE) area director and staff selection coordinator, calls the change “one step further toward making the lottery process more fair.”

“There are so many groups that get guaranteed housing that it was throwing off the lottery process,” Robbins said.

Robbins called the old policy “a perk” that no longer makes sense. “It’s not necessarily a logical form of compensation,” he said.

Myson Sheppard, a senior criminology and justice studies major who was a Community Advisor (C.A.) during the time of the old policy, disagrees with Robbins. “I think that (Residence Life) should do everything they can to give bonuses for (staff members) because it’s such a big responsibility and the small stipend they give every two weeks is nothing,” he said.

Some current staff members claim to have been unaware of the change in policy. One current C.A., who wishes to remain anonymous to protect her chances of being hired again next year, said that Residence Life did not properly inform the students of the change.

She also said Residence Life continued to advertise guaranteed housing as being part of the deal during the application process last year.

“It’s partly our fault for not reading our contracts thoroughly, but I would never think the College would promise something like guaranteed housing while they were advertising and then not deliver,” she said. “I just always thought we were a bit more professional than that.”

Robbins said that guaranteed housing was not advertised during last year’s application process and that all the candidates were notified of the change prior to accepting their positions.

When asked if he thought that this new policy would have a negative impact on the number of applicants to Residence Life positions, Robbins said that the number of applications for most jobs this year was comparable to the year before, except for Assistant Residence Director applications, which he said were triple the number of applications in previous years.

As for the number of staff members who will be re-applying to work again next year, Robbins says he has had to make additional photocopies of the application form to fill the demand – something he says he has never had to do before in two years.

He also said that he will not know for sure how many are re-applying until the applications are due Dec. 10.

Robbins said the reason why some people choose not to reapply is because of other things that come up, such as studying abroad or student teaching.

“There’s not a whole lot of staff working for us who, once they start working for us, choose to leave because they don’t want to do it anymore,” Robbins said. “I don’t think (the new policy) is going to be the deal breaker for them.”

To some students, guaranteed housing being taken away makes all the difference. When asked if he still would have applied to become a C.A. had this new policy been in effect during the time he was applying, Sheppard said, “I definitely would still have applied, but I’m not sure if I would have accepted employment if they offered me the job.”