Duke RA Compensation

Duke RA Compensation

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Duke RAs started this petition to Duke Housing and Residence Life

The Resident Assistants at Duke University are asking for a refund of our remaining food point balance that went unused as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 11, RAs received information that we were being let go from our “RA related responsibilities...effective immediately.” We were told that we would not receive a pay out for the unused meal swipes or food points that are part of our RA package. On April 2, Provost Sally Kornbluth announced that students, depending on their academic year and financial aid standing, will either receive credit for Fall 2020 or a refund equal to the amount of unused dining funds. We, the Resident Assistants, understand this uniquely stressful situation, and we are asking for our meal plans to be returned like the rest of the student body. 


On their website, Duke HRL speaks of themselves as an organization that promotes “concepts of mutual respect and civility, and recognize[s] and celebrate[s] the dignity and self-worth of all members.” If that is the case, why are RAs not being given the basic respect and civility to hold a conversation about compensation?  Why is it that when we are no longer laboring for Duke our dignity and self-worth are no longer respected and celebrated?


We surveyed RAs, who cited several common reasons for why they want their food points back:

- Many RAs passed up financial aid in order to take on the RA role. If they had instead taken the financial aid, they would receive reimbursements for both their housing and food points but These students are effectively being financially penalized for accepting the RA position because they are not receiving reimbursements for their food points.

- Throughout the semester, many RAs purposefully budgeted and deprived themselves of three meals a day based on the small meal plan. While we understand that the RA job description states that HRL does not intend for this meal plan to fully cover each RA’s meals, it served as the main funding sources for many students’ food budgets. 

- Families of RAs created budgets for the school year with the assumption that the RAs’ meals would be paid for. Now that this money is no longer available, some RAs and their families are struggling to find ways to put enough food on the table to feed everyone.

- Many RAs’ responsibilities have continued even though we no longer have the title. For example, many RAs are providing emotional and advisory support for their residents and continue to attend HRL team meetings.

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