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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

RHA pushes for new fee to cover member housing

The Residence Hall Association is pushing to pass a proposal that would increase the amount of money it receives from Residence Life each year.

The increased fee would allow RHA to pay for on-campus housing for its executive board members, who are usually upperclassmen but are required to live on campus. Currently, RHA receives $21 per resident on campus, which adds up to more than $147,000 this academic year.

The money helps pay for leadership training, conferences, events for residents and equipment, among other expenses. Each residence hall also gets $500 per year from RHA to pay for miscellaneous equipment such as pool equipment or pots and pans for their kitchen.

In recent years, RHA would budget the $21 per student fee without including its executive board members’ housing costs, said Nick Sweeton, senior director of Residence Life. Residence Life would then give the association another $6 to $7 per student to cover housing costs for up to Tier III housing, he added.

Sweeton said he didn’t think it was right for Residence Life to continue subsidizing RHA’s housing fees. Most RHAs at other schools are supported by an additional housing fee.

“RHA is not our organization; it’s the students’ organization,” Sweeton said. “So I did not feel like it was right that we should be paying for their student organization’s officer housing. I feel like that’s a decision that the students themselves should be making about officer compensation.”

The association is proposing a $10 increase to the RHA fee that’s embedded in students’ rent. Of that amount, $9 would go to the RHA budget, increasing it to $30. Residence Life also currently gives hall councils $20, an amount that would increase by $1 if the proposal is passed.

RHA at the UA isn’t as autonomous as it is in other schools in the region, said Shelby Deemer, RHA president. Because Residence Life will no longer be subsidizing the almost $7 extra for executive board members’ housing, RHA had to find a way to pay for housing itself.

RHA could either find an extra $45,000 within its budget or increase the fee Residence Life gives it from students’ rent.

If the proposal isn’t passed, Deemer said RHA will likely figure out a way to reduce costs elsewhere in order to use part of its $21-per-student budget to pay for the executive board members’ housing.

Lisa Coletta, an RHA general body representative from Navajo-Pinal Residence Hall, said some people might be confused about the proposal because they might think it increases rent.

“I think it will be a good thing because then the [executive board] doesn’t have to worry about how to get that money,” said Coletta, a junior studying family studies, human development and PPEL. “It gives them less stress to worry about that, which means they can better serve our campus.”

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