Stop UC Santa Barbara from Leaving Incoming Resident Assistants Houseless

Stop UC Santa Barbara from Leaving Incoming Resident Assistants Houseless

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UCSB RA Coalition started this petition to Chancellor Henry T. Yang & Vice Chancellor Wilfred Brown

UC Santa Barbara terminated over 130 incoming Resident Assistant contracts just two weeks before our promised move in. The university has left some of its most vulnerable students houseless, unemployed, and food insecure during a global pandemic.

We are demanding from the university that our stipend and rent-free room and board agreed upon when offered the Resident Assistant position be honored by the promised move-in date of September 19, 2020. 

Resident Assistants are integral to the operations and reputation of the university. The position itself allows the university to actively take advantage of low-income students in need of housing and marginalized students for their lived experiences in order to create “diverse and inclusive” residential communities.As a community, we are expected to be the “face” of the university— protecting its prestige by preventing unsafe situations and liabilities, as well as mentoring and taking care of up to 150 residents —all while maintaining our mental health and academic standing. In return, we are “compensated” with room and board, in addition to a measly stipend of $40-50 every 2 weeks for a contractual 35 hour pay period.

We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic is an ever-evolving situation. However, the administration did not communicate any possibility of potential layoffs the entire summer, leaving student workers with a false sense of housing, food and financial security. 

UCSB Chancellor Yang first sent an email the night of Friday, August 28th, to notify the entire student body that UCSB Housing would be limited only to students with “special circumstances.” Incoming RAs were unsure if they still had employment and housing with the university, despite being sent hiring paperwork just days before. RA’s that were on the alternate list were never informed by administration at all. We waited another 4 days for the housing administration to issue an official contract termination notice for Fall Quarter, when students had been promised move-in accommodations as early as September 1st. Clearly, the university is neither committed to nor capable of sustaining its students’ physical, mental, and academic well-being.

Impacts from this callous decision-making were reflected in a student-made Basic Needs and Housing survey created shortly after the official notice of our furlough on September 2nd:

  • 65% of incoming Resident Assistants will face financial insecurity.
  • 33% will face housing insecurity.
  • 30% are impacted by the administration’s lack of honest communication.
  • 28% will be impacted by mental health concerns.
  • 16% will face food insecurity.
  • And 43% of survey responses listed 3 or more categories impacting them.

This is a systemic issue: we have been consistently been underpaid, under informed, and overworked by UC Santa Barbara. It is infuriating that Resident Assistants must continue to demand consideration for our basic needs of food, housing, physical and financial security, especially during COVID-19. Follow us @ucsbRAcoalition on Twitter and Instagram to continue supporting us in our fight.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!