On March 15, IU Student Government passed a bill that will give $100 or $200 to current and former residential assistants and commUNITY educators to compensate for increased hazardous conditions of working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In total, IUSG will allocate $65,000, which will pay current and former RAs and CUEs varying amounts based on how recently they were employed by RPS, according to the bill.
RAs and CUEs who have been employed continuously by RPS from Aug. 7, 2020, to at least March 1 will receive $200.
According to section 2 of the bill, former RAs and CUEs who were employed from Aug. 7, 2020, to at least Nov. 1, 2020, but were no longer employed in their position as of March 1 will receive $200. Their final pay stub must be dated after Oct. 31, 2020.
Section 2 also states that former RAs and CUEs who were employed from Aug. 7, 2020, to at least Sept. 1, 2020, and were no longer employed by Jan. 1, will receive $100.
Section 2 states former RAs and CUEs who were employed continuously from Feb. 1 to at least March 1 will receive $100 as well.
RAs and CUEs can expect to receive these allowances no later than April 5, according to the bill. They will receive them through their normal payroll system, most likely as an off-cycle paycheck.
Alfonso Soto III, IUSG’s House Speaker and Willkie dorm RA said RAs had been expected to deal with the increasingly hazardous conditions of working with students and staff, risking infection and transmission, without any additional compensation.
Many RAs voiced their objections to this with little to no response from Residential Programs and Services, and some even quit, Soto said. Soto brought the issue to the IUSG.
“If RPS isn’t going to pay their employees, then student government will,” said Jack Milton, current IUSG Recorder and Finance Committee member.
Milton said the Dean of Students has approved this initiative, allowing IUSG to dip into additional funding, and since the allocated funds would move through IU internally, payments shouldn’t take too long to be sent by the RAs. The necessary funds will be primarily coming out of IUSG’s budget surplus, Milton said.
Soto said the only offering RPS gave the RAs this past semester was a t-shirt, with the words “COVID Task Force” on the front.
“So they know we’re dealing with this and you’re gonna give us a t-shirt that says ‘COVID Test Unit’ but you aren’t going to compensate us adequately,” Soto said.
Jeremiah Bonner, a former RA at Read, said he has had problems communicating with RPS, especially when it involved money.
“They just would push you away from the subject as hard as they possibly could,” Bonner said.
Bonner said that he quit on Dec. 19, 2020, primarily due to poor management in his dorm.
“‘We see you, we hear you, we’re taking notes, we understand.’ And nothing would ever happen,” Bonner said about his communication with RPS.
IU Spokesperson Chuck Carney said that since the university doesn’t have a premium pay policy, they weren’t able to cover the additional cost of compensating RAs and CUEs for hazard work.
“We are aware of and have been supportive of the IUSG work this semester on providing extra compensation to our live-in undergraduate staff, which includes resident assistants and CommUNITY Educators. In these challenging times of the pandemic, they have done exemplary work. We appreciate IUSG’s effort to recognize that work,” Carney said.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly described the text on the shirts given to RAs.