Staff who resign after winter cancellation miss out on half their stipend, face losing housing

Jan. 13, 2021, 11:54 p.m.

Resident assistants (RAs) that leave their staffing roles following Stanford’s decision not to bring back most frosh and sophomores for winter quarter will receive half of their stipend, according to an email sent on Wednesday from Residential Education (ResEd). Students who continue their roles as RAs will receive their compensation in full, a total of $3800 for the winter quarter, according to Director of Selection & Training Zac Sargeant. Additionally, if RAs decide to resign from their position but want to remain on campus, they will have to apply to stay through the special circumstances housing process.

Unlike in previous years, stipends will be processed in two installments of $1900. All student staff who attended training and arrived on campus to staff will receive the first installment, according to Sargeant. Staff can expect to receive the first payment “within two weeks,” and the second installment will be processed on or after Jan. 25 for those who “decide to remain in their roles.” The decision to split the payment came after considering the “unique situation” that might prompt RAs to reconsider staffing for the winter quarter.

Student staff must resign their position if their house is closing and they do not wish to move with their residents, if they take a leave of absence or if they move out of on-campus housing, Sargeant wrote. 

This announcement comes after student staff were told they would “receive your winter quarter stipends in full as planned,” in an email from Assistant Vice Provost for Residential Education Cheryl Brown on Saturday after winter was canceled.

An RA who spoke anonymously due to fear of professional retaliation said that she initially perceived the email from Brown as one of reassurance — that “there was no caveat, there was no conditions” in order to receive the full stipend. 

However, the apparent reversal less than a week later bothered her. “This whole situation kind of pigeonholes you in RAing,” she said. 

She understood that the possibility of being paid in full without doing much of the work of an RA was a “pipe dream in some ways.” However, rather than the decision itself, she was more upset at what she called the “truly awful” manner in which the University communicated the changes.

“I do think that this is a theme across all of Stanford’s decisions,” she said. Students shared frustrations over the University’s last-minute announcement not allow frosh and sophomores back on campus during the winter quarter. 

The University didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Jianna So ’22 is currently staffing Norcliffe House, but plans to leave campus soon due to safety considerations, including concerns that subcontracted service workers are not adequately protected. She was “really happy” to hear that she would still receive half of the stipend despite terminating her contract “a little earlier than halfway through” the quarter. 

However, she noted that there has been a lack of communication from ResEd. “It has been really frustrating basically not receiving any communication before this about when we could expect to be paid,” So said. 

She hoped to be compensated for staff training, for which she thought she would receive payments in addition to $3800. So also believes that RAs should be provided with hazard pay, as their living conditions are “dramatically different from what we were promised when we were going through training.”

Contact Anna Milstein at annamil ‘at’

Anna Milstein ’23 is a desk editor for Vol. 259 Academic News and a Staff Writer. Contact her at amilstein ‘at’

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