Opinion: Night Assistants deserve benefits, housing must deliver

Austin Mann

Kevin Griffin

Austin MannThe Student Government Association passed a bill Tuesday night changing the name of Night Stars to Night Assistants, a job some students at Appalachian State have. 

These student employees work hard to keep us safe, but they are still denied certain advantages that other student employees enjoy. 

While most student employees of this university can take off work the night before an important exam, the same cannot be done for Night Assistants. Night Assistants are required to work during finals week, according to the Night Assistant Manual. 

Night Assistants have to patrol the halls in student dormitories until 3 or 4 a.m. This is a problem when you consider that some of these Night Assistants have to take 8 a.m. classes.

SGA Senator Nick Smith proposed a bill to help alleviate some of these problems. The bill calls for Night Assistants to have priority registration and to have the option to take off nights before an important exam to study and sleep.

A bill this important does not come without its detractors. Some in SGA have voiced concern that students may sign on to the Night Assistant program for the benefits, only to quit once they receive them. Regardless of this potential danger, those who are dedicated Night Assistants deserve early registration as a reward for their long nights of ensuring safety in dorms.

Another problem is that it will be very difficult to realize parts of these important changes. Because SGA has no actual power or executive authority, it is up to the university to make these changes. 

The final alteration to the Night Assistant program is at the discretion of University Housing, which does not have to alter the Night Assistant program, even though the bill has already passed.

I have to give Smith and the SGA credit. Kudos to all of you for endorsing these important measures to safeguard the rights that every Night Assistant deserves. But I have to call into question how far this bill will really go. 

You can pass as many bills as you want, but ultimately it is the university that governs the students, not the other way around.

Mann, a freshman computer science major from Raleigh, is an opinion writer.