Oxford College resident assistants are receiving a $1,800 stipend starting this year following a decrease in the number of resident assistant applicants for the 2021-22 academic year, according to Oxford Residential Education and Services (RES) Director Phillip Sullivan.
Resident assistants previously received only free housing in a single room for their compensation, while resident advisors on Emory University’s Atlanta campus continue to receive the $1,800 stipend in addition to free housing.
With the introduction of the stipend, Oxford resident assistants’ compensation will be comparable to first-time resident advisors on the Atlanta campus, Sullivan wrote in an email to the Wheel.
Many students expressed excitement about the additional payment. Marlon Dubose (23Ox) and Sana Punjani (23Ox), who are Oxford resident assistants this academic year, believe that the stipend will increase interest in the position.
“[The stipend] definitely makes the work feel more fulfilling,” Dubose said. “[The lack of compensation] was something I was thinking about last year, with whether or not I wanted to do this, because you’re putting in a lot of work but you’re not really receiving a lot of compensation in terms of payment.”
Punjani agreed, believing that the stipend will help with morale among resident assistants now.
“I know in the past, a lot of RAs complained that they worked a lot harder than Emory paid them to work, which has caused a fair amount of decline of applicants,” Punjani said.
Resident assistants have also expressed that it was difficult to hold down a paying job while also being a resident assistant, Punjani noted.
“Now that you get paid to be an RA, it relieves a lot of that pressure,” Punjani said.
Oxford resident assistant duties include handling RES policy and community building. They are also trained to assist during emergency situations, mediate conflict between residents and report maintenance or behavioral issues. There is an Oxford resident assistant on call for four to five hours each day, and Dubose said that on average, a resident assistant will be on call about twice a week.
Naeman Mahmood (22Ox, 24C), who was a resident assistant during the 2021-22 academic year, also said that he helped his residents navigate academic and social problems on campus.
“For some people, I’m like an academic advisor: I tell them classes they should take, classes they shouldn’t take,” Mahmood said. “For others, I help them with their emotional and relationship issues, so I’m like a counselor in that regard.”
Several former Oxford resident assistants — including Mahmood — said that their duties could be demanding.
“It does seem like the RA role for some of my coworkers has been a detriment to their mental health and their well-being, which can come with any job, but I’ve noticed this more so with being an RA,” Mahmood said.
While Mahmood did not receive an additional stipend when he was an Oxford resident assistant, he said that he still enjoyed the position.
“It’s been the most rewarding job I’ve ever had, to be honest,” Mahmood said. “The downsides definitely are outweighed by the fulfillment you can get from this job.”
Executive Editor Matthew Chupack (24C) and Photo Editor Ally Hom (24C) are resident advisors on the Atlanta campus and had no role in writing or editing this article.
News Editor | Eva Roytburg (she/her, 23Ox) is from Glencoe, Illinois, majoring in philosophy, politics and law. Outside of the Wheel, Roytburg is an avid writer of short fiction stories. In her free time, you can find her way too deep in a niche section of Wikipedia.