Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 33

made transparently? The government
mandate may have been gone, but the
questions remained.
The FLSA back-and-forth raised a
number of fundamental questions for
those in campus housing. Conversations were needed to define seemingly
clear terms like "work" and "compensation." For example, many schools,
at least unofficially, consider the room
and board provided to entry-level professionals as a benefit. However, such
thinking is inconsistent with Internal
Revenue Service rules which consider
housing to be "at the convenience of
the employer," and, if room and board
were truly compensation it would be
taxable and allow staff the option to
move off campus.
The debate also broached the roles
and responsibilities of entry-level staff,
with some professionals viewing the
process and outcome as a mandate
on their value to the organization
and field. In fact, conversations with
housing professionals and survey
results demonstrated a significant
gap between the perceptions of senior
housing officers and entry-level housing professionals as well as a growing
conflict over feelings of being valued
and whether staff are fairly compensated. One residence director interviewed said the salary of an entry-level
professional doesn't show a respect for
new professionals or their educational
experience. "We expect people to have
a master's degree but then pay them
horribly. It is a devaluation of our
degrees."
According to the 2018 Campus
Housing Compensation Report, collected
in the fall of 2017 by ACUHO-I as
part of the Campus Housing Index,
professional live-in staff earn an average of $35,000 at private, not-for-profit
colleges and universities and $37,000
at public institutions. Most schools
(76-79 percent, depending on institu-

tion type) classify these employees as
exempt. It is not clear whether they
work full time during regular business
hours, in addition to weekend and evening commitments like staff meetings,
programs, and duty or if they employ
flex-time arrangements. According to
one senior housing officer who reported increasing staff pay to the proposed
minimum, "I believe we should revisit
the salary and possibly move it down
again. We calculated that entry-level

. . . CONVERSATIONS
WITH HOUSING
PROFESSIONALS AND
SURVEY RESULTS
DEMONSTRATED
A SIGNIFICANT
GAP BETWEEN THE
PERCEPTIONS OF
SENIOR HOUSING
OFFICERS AND ENTRYLEVEL HOUSING
PROFESSIONALS
AS WELL AS A
GROWING CONFLICT
OVER FEELINGS
OF BEING VALUED
AND WHETHER
STAFF ARE FAIRLY
COMPENSATED.
staff are making $75,000-$85,000 in
salary and benefits. Yet they still do
not feel they are compensated fairly.

The expectations of staff in entry-level
residence life roles appear to have
changed, but the role has not. I'm not
sure if the employees or employers
need to adjust, or who needs to adjust
more."
Many questioned were even unsure
of how they would prefer to be paid.
In most cases, hourly staff were paid
their base salary, so overtime naturally
increased their pay, but overtime was
unpredictable between positions. Additionally, while staff who were paid
hourly reported that it was nice to actually earn overtime instead of putting in
the hours without a change in compensation, as is typical of exempt positions, they also noted that it led to the
pressure of clock watching. According
to one entry-level live-in professional,
"Most institutions limited the number
of hours people could work, which
increased pressure and stress to get a
monumental amount of work done in
40 hours." That can be a particularly
difficult balance when the job is about
building relationships and community, which is less operational than
administrative tasks. The challenge is
no less for those leading departments.
According to one senior housing officer who migrated their staff to hourly
payment, "We changed daytime hours
from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to give them a
five-hour buffer for evening programs,
staff meetings, et cetera. While I like
this from the self-care standpoint, it
certainly impacts availability. At the
same time, I don't think my RDs are
tracking those times when students
might catch them in the hall during
their off hours."
The possible disconnect in perception is heightened by the fact that final
decisions about compensation or the
classification of housing professionals
may not even be made by the housing
department. And, in some cases, the
senior housing officer wasn't even a
part of the decision-making process.

MARCH + APRIL 2018

33



Talking Stick - March/April 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Talking Stick - March/April 2018

Talking Stick - March/April 2018
Contents
Vision
Calendar
Your ACUHO-I
Transitions
Res Life
Facilities
Special Focus
Winning Halls
The Living-Learning Community Pyramid
Conversations
First Takes
New Members
Snapshot
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - Intro
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - BB1
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - BB2
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - Talking Stick - March/April 2018
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - Cover2
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 1
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 2
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - Contents
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 4
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 5
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 6
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 7
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - Vision
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 9
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 10
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 11
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 12
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 13
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 14
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 15
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 16
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 17
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - Calendar
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 19
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - Your ACUHO-I
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 21
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - Transitions
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 23
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - Res Life
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 25
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 26
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 27
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - Facilities
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 29
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 30
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 31
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - Special Focus
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 33
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 34
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 35
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - Winning Halls
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 37
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 38
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 39
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 40
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 41
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 42
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 43
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - The Living-Learning Community Pyramid
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 45
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 46
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 47
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 48
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 49
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 50
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 51
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - Conversations
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 53
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 54
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 55
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - First Takes
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 57
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - 58
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - New Members
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - Snapshot
Talking Stick - March/April 2018 - Cover3
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