Hazard pay not an option for UNH RAs


Benjamin Domaingue

In an email following up with RAs, Director of Residential Life Ruth Abelmann rejected potential hazard pay for resident assistants. 

University of New Hampshire (UNH) resident assistants (RAs) and the Department of Residential Life recently met to discuss additional compensation for RAs due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

“I want to be fully transparent and say that added compensation is not an option,” said Abelmann. 

This news comes shortly after a petition circulated by resident assistants garnered over 480 signatures. Their petition calls for additional compensation for the increase in hours and workload placed upon RAs. 

“We request that you formally consider possible forms of additional hazard compensation for RAs, not only to highlight the work we have been doing and will continue to do, but also give us some added comfort to our daily lives,” said the petition.  

Abelmann noted that the university’s losses due to COVID-19 are partly to blame. 

“Residential Life/Housing lost millions of dollars since the start of COVID due to refunding students for their housing during closures,” said Abelmann.  

Abelmann noted that much of the UNH staff have taken on increased workloads, with some even resorting to pay cuts. Given the impact on RAs’ mental health, Psychological and Counseling Services will be hosting a group drop-in session for RAs.  

RAs also made note of the inequities in vaccine distribution, with resident hall directors, dining staff and housekeeping staff receiving leftover doses from Exeter without communicating the event with them. Based on current state guidelines, RAs remain ineligible for the vaccine.  

Abelmann confirmed that the university is willing to secure N-95 masks and face shields for RAs should they ask.  

RAs have been concerned with student conduct within Adams Tower and Babcock Hall. Bringing these concerns to light, Abelmann was able to identify multiple cases in which the university will take action through student conduct. 

“I investigated the concerns and learned there are over 12 cases being brought through conduct and serious sanctions will likely be the outcome including eviction for the semester and/or suspension,” said Abelmann. 

Even with RAs’ concerns on COVID-19, the university continues to take strict action against non-compliance within its testing protocols.  

“We are taking COVID testing compliance very seriously this semester and as of today we have had only 1 on-campus student who has missed 2 tests,” said Abelmann. 

Photo 2019 courtesy of UNH Residential Life.