RHA looks to Residential Life and CDS for financial help

Residential Life will start paying for some of their room and board.
Katie Currid / Graphic Designer

Residential Life and Campus Dining Services will begin to pay half of the Residence Halls Association's president and vice president's room and board in the fall semester of 2009, and RHA will pay the other half.

The president and vice president's room and board, which RHA pays on its own, totals $8,046, more than one-fifth of the organization's $40,044 budget.

RHA Vice President Nate Ballance proposed a resolution for Residential Life to pay for the entire room and board last semester. After the resolution passed RHA Congress, Ballance presented it to Residential Life, working specifically with the planning and design committee and Director Frankie Minor. Members of the management staff in both Residential Life and CDS discussed the resolution separately and were in favor of compensating RHA's president and vice president.

"Residential Life and CDS rely on RHA to be the voice of the residents that we serve, and we frequently meet with them to discuss issues, concerns or exciting new ideas," Minor said. "Having an effective organization requires good leadership, which requires a great deal of time."

This won't be the first time Residential Life has compensated RHA executives with their own funds.

"We felt it was appropriate for us to return to the past practice where Res. Life and CDS provided this level of support and only ended this support years ago at the request of RHA who was seeking greater financial independence at the time," Minor said.

Ballance said he proposed the resolution to free up more of RHA's budget for events and programs for students. Although he's serving as vice president, Ballance won't be affected by the change in policy because he's graduating in May.

"RHA has a very limited budget compared to Res. Life and I think it's a little ridiculous that such a large portion of RHA's budget goes to just two residents," Ballance said.

Minor said the RHA president and vice president deserve to have their room and board paid for and MU wouldn't be the only school with its housing department compensating its RHA executives.

"Most schools like Mizzou provide comparable level of support for their RHA executives, but actual amounts and who is compensated varies," Minor said.

Ballance said it is ideal that the president and vice president's room and board be paid for because the position's time constraints might keep students from being able to pay for it on their own.

"The positions of president and vice president entail a lot of work and effort," Ballance said. "It's not the kind of position you can just waltz into."

Another issue related to RHA's budget, campaign financing, is being brought to the forefront due to the organization's ongoing presidential elections. Unlike many campus organizations, such as the Missouri Students Association, RHA finances the campaign of any presidential candidate.

RHA includes $1,000 for campaign financing in their budget and splits the money evenly between all candidates who register to run in the presidential election.

"We feel that the way we finance our candidates' campaigns equalizes the field and is easier to manage than just giving all the candidates a cap for how much money they can spend on the campaign," said RHA President Robert Wood, who is running for re-election. "The candidates go out and make purchases and then show their receipts to be reimbursed."

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