Student money may go to IRA housing

After auditing the budget of the Inter-Residence Association (IRA) on Friday, SGA Senator and Resident Advisor (RA) Jimmy Candon noticed an excess of $40,000 left in IRA’s budget that had not been allocated. “We told [him] that we are working on E-Board restructure, and that we are working on a proposal for bed waivers for the IRA E-Board,” IRA President Bob Just said. The proposal, which would only be available to the seven students on the IRA executive board, would supply a compensation for the maximum room rate for a traditional double at $5,752 a year. “It doesn’t mean that we would get a double room to our?selves,” Just said. “It just means if we lived in a traditional double we would not be paying for our room.”If passed, the funding for each bed waiver will be paid for by the designated compensation fund within the IRA budget. “Every student living on campus is required to pay $15 a semester to the IRA fee.” Just said. “Technically, it is the student fee that will be funding this compensation.””I don’t think it is fair that I am helping pay room and board for others, when I have many friends that are having a hard time paying for their own room and board,” freshman Nick Dove said in an e-mail. “Money is a lure in any case,” Just said. “You can see this with any organization with a high compensation package – it lures a great number of people to the position and it increases the quality of their leadership.”Many RAs were outraged at the proposal of the bed waivers, finding the compensation unfair and unethical. “If they started working 30-hour weeks while being on call 24/7, I’d be a little more lenient,” RA Selden Dickinson said in an e-mail. “If you don’t like the pay, don’t take the job of IRA.””There must be a serious disconnect for representatives of IRA if they feel they are entitled to the few benefits and compensations that the RA’s struggle to have, when IRA executives do not do half of the work that is expected of an RA,” RA Andrew Zarro said in an e-mail. “As an organization and an executive board we feel this is an appropriate measure we can take to better achieve our vision,” Just said. “I think right now there lacks a level of accountability in the organization that IRA is our number one top priority outside of academics.” If passed, the executive board members themselves would be in charge to reinforce the accountability of the members, Just said. “How dare they take such actions to further their own selfish needs as executives of the ‘student voice’ by not informing the student body of their intentions,” Zarro said in an e-mail. “I think the concern [of the RAs] was valid; but the action should’ve come to the IRA general body, and not through other organizations,” Just said. “There was no rejection of any materials they requested, all our information is public,” Just said. “It is important to get both sides of the story before acting on any assumptions or accusations that have been made.”Candon, who was to publicly speak on the compensation issue at the SGA meeting on Oct. 21, was allegedly silenced through blackmail from Stacey Miller, the Director of Residential Life, although both denied such allegations. “In no way was the RA/SGA Senator involved threatened or blackmailed with their positions to not speak or share their thoughts and opinions,” Miller said in an e-mail.”I had planned to address this [issue] at SGA Tuesday night with the intent of determining the feeling of other senators on this matter, but in a meeting with ResLife immediately before, it was decided that this was not the best course of action,” Candon said in an e-mail. “We emphasized how appropriate it was for students to share their concerns, unfortunately, the way in which these concerns were shared was unprofessional and below our department’s expectations and standards,” Miller said. “I feel that the subject matter needed to be addressed, as it was a rather sensitive issue,” Zarro said. “I encourage the leaders of this campus to work with one another to proactively solve this dilemma.” “I will be actively working with other RA’s and IRA on a positive plan to help resolve this current situation,” Candon said, “I am confident that we will be able to help heal these tensions.””I think overall [the RA issue] has been settled,” Just said, “We look forward to working with them in the future.”