UNC-Chapel Hill’s housing department laid off all student employees Thursday afternoon, citing an expected $20 million loss in revenue due to the transition to online learning.

The students, mostly resident advisors working with first-year students during their transition to college, have been told their last day of work is October 30. They are allowed to stay in their dorm at the typical $711 per semester rate charged to student housing employees, or they can cancel their housing contracts. This is the first they’ve heard about their job status since the school announced its transition to online classes.

Students will be paid for their work up to their layoff. RAs receive a $5,000 stipend each semester that is handed out over time. Community Managers, a higher-up student position, make $8,000 a semester. The cuts could affect some students’ financial aid; Carolina Housing tells students that are on need-based aid to contact the school to see how this will change.

RAs were also told that starting November 1 they will need to stop using listservs and group messages to communicate with their former residents, although the FAQ sent to student employees say they “are welcome to continue the valuable friendships they have made with residents who have left campus through personal communication channels.”

This week, the school announced that it would no longer be including self-reported positive COVID-19 cases on the Community Dashboard, citing that it was affecting the school’s positivity rate. This took the 8/24-8/30 positivity rate down to 12% with 26 total positive tests, whereas the same time period showed 41.3% with 260 positive tests before the update.

By eliminating all RAs, resident advisor mentor, and community manager positions for the fall semester, the university claims it will save a few million dollars.

The cuts, of course, won’t affect Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz’s salary, which sits at $620,000. Vice-Chancellor and Provost Bob Blouin, who previously refused to apologize for bringing students back in the midst of a pandemic, makes over $493,000. 

Athletic staff making over $200K took a 20% pay cut earlier this month, bringing Mack Brown’s $750K coaching salary down to a paltry $600,000. No announcement has been made regarding faculty or administration pay cuts. More employee earnings can be found on the UNC System Salary Information Database

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