Carolina Housing student staff will receive paid administrative leave through April 30 following the closure of campus residence halls, according to an email sent from Carolina Housing representatives on Monday.
The email, sent by Carolina Housing’s Senior Director for Residential Education J. Kala Bullett and Executive Director Allan Blattner, said student staff will not work “but will continue to be paid” based on scheduled hours.
This decision follows new guidance from the UNC System about provisions for employees between April 1 and April 30, UNC Media Relations said in an email.
“These provisions supersede all regular policies and replace any previous guidance issued,” Media Relations said in the email.
Carolina Housing previously told student staff in a March 18 email that their positions had been terminated, and suggested reaching out to the Financial Aid office for guidance on this "reduction in income."
On March 23, student staff received another email from Bullett and Blattner saying: “No decisions have been made at this time regarding pay for student employees after March 31.”
A group of resident advisers wrote a letter responding to their termination, eliciting more than 500 co-signatures in support of their request to be paid the remainder of their stipend.
According to the resident adviser letter of appointment, the compensation package for RAs includes a prorated stipend divided into 10 payments, received monthly on the last business day of the month.
UNC senior and Resident Adviser Mentor Emily Ashton said her first reaction to the March 30 email was one of relief.
“I’m very thankful that I have security when a lot of other people do not,” Ashton said.
While student staff will be paid through April 30, no decisions about student employee pay after this date have been made, Bullett and Blattner said in the March 30 email.
“I know that (Carolina) Housing is always trying to put students first, and I just really like to see that actually being practiced,” Ashton said.
An RA who contributed to the response letter and asked to remain anonymous due to future employment concerns said she is glad that this paid administrative leave applies not only to RAs but also to office assistants, who were not included in the response letter. Office assistants are paid an hourly wage, rather than a prorated stipend.
In the March 18 email, Bullett said the date of termination for office assistants was their last worked shift.
“We did want to fight for them as well," the RA said regarding the response letter. "We just didn’t really know how to do that in the scope of what we were trying to do."
John McGowan, a professor in the English and comparative literature department, was one of the co-signers of the response letter. He said he initially signed the letter because he feels the University has a responsibility for its employees, including students. He said overall, he feels UNC has been helpful under these unprecedented circumstances.
“They made the wrong call at the start and they’ve corrected it,” McGowan said.
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