By Jhoana T. Merino-Martinez and Nadia Tejeda
News Editor and Equinox Advertisement Team Member
A huge drop in resident students for the fall semester means inevitable job cuts for student resident assistants (R.A.s).
“At this time, we have 343 residents who have registered to live on campus,” Rebecca Venezuela, associate director of operations for Residence Life, told The Equinox. “This number is about half of what we usually have in the residence halls. Due to the decreased population in the residence halls, we will have a reduced number of R.A.s.”
From moving in to moving out, resident assistants are a pivotal part of campus life and the FDU Residence Life department. R.A.s are appointed and trained to help guide residents and foster a sense of community within their assigned residence halls.
They are dedicated to safety and are essential workers in residential life.
Now, many are out of a job.
“We were notified less than three weeks before the expected move-in date about getting let-go from our positions,” said Kalyssa Nufable, a junior nursing major, who had undergone the training and was ready to start a job she had wanted to do since high school. “I was not expecting to have a balance this semester, so this really impacts my financial situation.
“I am a nursing student, so I don’t have the option of taking all my classes from home like other majors. I can’t attend clinical from my house so I really rely on being a resident.”
Hannah Farrow, a senior double major in forensic science and criminal justice, said she decided to work as an R.A. to help others.
“I wanted to become an R.A. after my first semester at FDU. My freshman year R.A.s were so helpful and made me feel like FDU was home. I knew after being helped by them I wanted to help others,” Farrow said.
There is no financial compensation for these students who now find themselves in an uneasy financial situation on short notice.
“A lot of people like me, struggle financially,” Nufable said.”Affording university can be really challenging, especially if living at home isn’t really practical. Having that R.A. scholarship can really help students afford being a resident.”
R.A.s are trained to handle scenarios that may occur like peer conflicts and mental health struggles. The training now covers COVID-19 precautions and guidelines.
“[R.A.s] roles will remain to monitor the buildings and ensure all residents are following University policies. They will interact with residents when needed but will be required to wear a mask and keep the six-feet social distance,” Venezuela said.
There will now be fewer of them.