Community Advisers at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point are facing several changes to their forms of compensation this semester.
Starting this fall, CA’s received the 200-block instead of the 250-block meal plan, giving them 50 less meals in exchange for an additional 25 “dawg dollars”. Furthermore, phones are no longer installed in their rooms, and each residence hall has one fewer adviser position, making current CA’s work an additional hour compared to previous semesters, without receiving a raise in monthly pay.
CA’s are facing changes in roommate requirements as well. In past semesters, they could choose to buy out their rooms for $600 each semester or receive a $500 stipend for having a roommate. This semester, CA’s must have a roommate without receiving the $500 stipend.
The explanation provided by Residential Living involves two main factors, said Eric Gonnering, a third-semester CA at Hansen Hall. An increase of 158 incoming students meant more space needed to be available, and budget cuts to the Residential Living necessitated some restructuring in employees’ duties. Residential Living hoped to minimize the impact these factors had on regular students.
The transition has prompted some concern among CA’s, especially regarding the new roommate requirement.
“It was kind of a shock,” said Megan Waldschmidt, fourth-semester CA at Steiner Hall. “Going from the switch from having your own room to having a random roommate was really difficult because you don’t know how they’re going to feel about your job.”
Many also noted the day-to-day challenges of having a roommate. Klayton Fritz, first-semester CA at Neale Hall, said having a roommate added a social benefit but also pointed out how the late hours CA’s sometimes need to work – which can be as late as 2 or 3 a.m. – can conflict with roommate needs.
Roommates do not receive compensation from the university.
“It’s not his responsibility to not get enough sleep because he’s not getting paid for this job. He’s not getting paid to room with a CA, either,” said Joe Czerwinksi, second-semeseter CA at Thomson Hall. “I feel that’s unfair to take away sleep from them if the phone were to go off.”
CA’s offered a variety of responses about whether or not the changes were fair.
“I would be happier if we got paid more, but I think the job is still worth doing for the work that we do,” Czerwinski said.
“I think it’s pretty fair,” Fritz said. “I feel like the job may be very hard, but I feel like the fact that I get all these benefits, and I get all this experience is pretty good.”
Some CA’s said they found the transition a bit more frustrating.
“Now that there’s one less CA, we should be getting more benefits, but we’re getting way less. It just doesn’t even out, and it’s frustrating to see,” Grace Dapper, second-semester CA at Thomson Hall, said. “People seriously underestimate what we do and how much we have to do. You’re never off the clock.”