Columns / Discourse / October 30, 2019

Assisting in the fair wage fight

Every student on this campus has had an RA. Whether you have had a great relationship with your RA or one of casual passing, your RAs have done a lot for you.

They’ve kept an excel sheet of everyone’s interests and involvement so that they could try to connect with you. They spent their time watching Halloween Town 3 with you instead of doing their homework. They spent weekends worried and prepared to help you and your friends when you went out.

We do all of these things because we love our community and our residents. And though we love our communities, the job of an RA adds a significant strain on our minds and bodies. The stress of our job is only increased by the financial strain of receiving unfair wages for our work.

After researching private Midwest institutions of under 5,000 students, we have found that the average hourly equivalent of pay for RAs is $10.86. Knox RAs make $6.14. The average yearly hours for RAs is 580 hours. Knox RAs work 651 hours.

As a residential institution, Knox College depends on their RAs. We run the Campus Life Office desk, we do storage appointments, we help students who get locked out, we help close the residence halls and we run Taylor Lounge. We are the first people to get to campus and the last to leave. Yet they continue to pay us an unfair wage. We are overworked and underpaid, and we demand change.

A group of RAs have worked throughout the term to make this change a reality. We have met with Eleanor Kahn twice and held a meeting for RAs and the public. There have since been plans for an increase in RA pay to 50% off of our room fee.

Though this is progress, it still puts us below the average RA pay, so our fight is not over. We are planning another meeting with the Campus Life staff and a final meeting with President Amott, Anne Ehrlich and other Knox College officials before the end of the term.

Your RAs go beyond their contractual duties because they want to support their residents in every way they can. We have always been there for you. We now need you to support us. Help us fight for fair wages.

Allison LaSalvia

Tags:  associated colleges of the midwest fair pay fair wages labor rights resident assistant

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