3 Reasons Why RAs and PMs Deserve Just Cause

I’ve been involved on the UMass Amherst campus in a few different ways in my three years here. I mentor middle school students in science through the STEM AP program, I was on the programming board of my house council, and I even write for the best Her Campus chapter! But the job I’m the proudest of has to be my position as a Peer Mentor. As a first-generation college student, I know how scary and overwhelming the high school to college transition can be. Classes are scary enough, let alone RSOs, dealing with FAFSAs or the Bursar’s Office, housing, and don’t even get me started on the dining common. That being said, I needed my RAs and my PM!

 I love being a PM so much, and wouldn’t trade my experience for anything else in the world. And as you may or may not know, PM’s on campus were recently unionized, and now join RAs in the UAW 2322. I didn’t learn until just this year that RAs and PMs don’t have a “just cause” clause in their contract. This means that…..

1) We could lose our housing.

If an RA or PM is fired, we need to completely move out of our rooms within 7 days of notice-- it doesn’t matter our financial standing, or even if we’re in the process of an appeal. Once we’re fired, we need to find new housing at full prices.

2) We could lose our income.

The RA position comes with a full housing waiver and a stipend, and the PM position comes with a single-room waiver (we only pay a “double” price). PMs are also allowed a second job outside of their position for only 5 hours a week, making it our primary source of income. If we lose our job, we lose our ability to afford staying in school.

3) Our communities would suffer.

Let’s say that an RA or a PM was fired, regardless of reason. Your floor would suddenly lose not only a member, but a resource. Residents will not only start to feel neglected at UMass, but communities could become unsafe without RAs there. Roommate issues could escalate, simple housing violations could turn dangerous.

On December 8th, Resident Assistants and Peer Mentors, with the help of members from their union UAW 2322, will rally and march to Whitmore building to meet with Chancellor Subbaswamy to demand just cause in their contract. Without a “Just Cause” clause, RAs or PMs could be fired at any moment for any reason.

Want to know how you can help, Collegiettes? Sign the UMass RA/PM Just Cause petition, or participate in our rally December 8th at 1pm! View the Facebook page for the event here.

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