Fewer resident assistants due to budget cuts

Starting fall 2010, resident assistants will more than likely face drastic changes including pay cuts, position cuts and a decrease in program budgets.Alger Studstill, 20, a third year business administration student from Orlando is currently serving as the head resident assistant in Gibbs Hall and president of the resident assistant council. “Fewer resident assistants mean more rooms for students,” said Studstill. Studstill is committed to working with the housing department to work through challenges the department may be facing.“A lot of R.A’s are confused about the talk of pay cuts and position cuts,” Studstill said. “Before spring break, I had a meeting to come up with plans and alternative suggestions that housing could use to keep the 79 R.A positions filled while still saving money.”The resident assistants are not yet aware of any decisions that have been made.Angela Loynes, interim assistant director of housing and resident director of Truth hall said a decision has already been made and set in stone but has not yet been released. R.A’s will be informed of the decisions by the end of this week.President James H. Ammons, met with all university department heads encouraging them to review their budgets and make cuts where applicable.“The university is expecting a 10 percent to 15 percent overall budget cut by the legislature,” Loynes said. “Housing is taking the proper precautions to prepare for a worst-case scenario. If the university is in an academic crunch, they can seek departments like housing for additional funding.”There have been several suggestions on how housing can save money and still keep all 79 R.A spots filled.“Housing uses about $500,000 by providing 79 residents with a housing stipend and free housing. If all 79 R.A’s were retained and the $1000 stipend was reduced to $650, housing could save an average of $35,000,” Studstill said.Besides financial changes, other areas such as safety may also be affected.“I feel that the decrease in number of R.A’s will affect the safety of residential halls unless the workload is tightened. The increase in the workload for R.A’s will cut into their academic and personal lives,” said Antorris Williams, 20, a second year public relations student from Belleglade, Fla.