By Resident Assistants Fighting for Tomorrow
On Friday, May 26 at 7 p.m. a group of Resident Assistants of The Evergreen State College went on strike as the group RAFT (Resident Assistants Fighting for Tomorrow).
On Wednesday, May 24, 2017 a group of Resident Assistants (RAs) submitted a list of demands as the group RAFT, just before noon to offices on the third floor of ‘A’ dorm. The demands were delivered to the Residential and Dining Professional staff (ProStaff) including Resident Directors (RDs), Associate Director (AD), and Director of RAD. The strike was initiated after the ProStaff of RAD did not meet the first deadline detailed in the list of demands. The first deadline stated that the RAFTies would need to receive “written and signed confirmation that all personnel listed in the preface to these demands have read and agree to have conversations regarding these issues.”
The time was specified through an email exchange with the Director of RAD as 5pm. The director called a white member of RAFT to ask to meet one-on-one to discuss concerns. RAFTies found this contact choice notable, given that half of the RAFT negotiation team are People of Color (PoC). The contacted RAFT member refused, and after contacting others in the group, several RAFTies attended this meeting. The deadline was extended from 5:00pm to 7:00pm to accommodate complaints about full workloads from the professional staff, and changed from requiring written confirmation and signatures to requiring email confirmation from all except the one Resident Director (RD) on vacation at the time. This negotiated deadline was not met. At 7:03 p.m. the RAFTies submitted an email stating that the strike had begun.
The list of demands was prompted by RAs experiencing and recognizing inequities, injustices and clear discrimination coming from the ProStaff and other campus administration over the years. Specifically, the list includes points on limiting RA involvement with the police, bringing Student Wellness Services to lower campus, RA working conditions, and ProStaff accountability measures. The full demands can be read on RAFT social media, listed at the bottom.
RAFTies are still engaging in their communities by participating in student-based groups like Community Watch (CW), ensuring residents have access to support services on campus, and maintaining interpersonal relationships with residents. The first round of negotiations will be taking place on Tuesday, May 30, at 1 p.m., on the 2nd floor of ‘A’ dorm.
To read the full list of demands, or for more information, visit RAFT on Facebook and Twitter at @evergreenRAFT