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Cadre not compensated

Norwich Guidon Staff Writer

Published: Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Updated: Thursday, November 3, 2011 21:11

A controversial topic for years at Norwich is whether freshmen cadre should be compensated like civilian students' residential staff.

"A lot of people have always debated (this issue)," said Maj. Kristine Seipel, a member of the Vermont State Militia and the presiding housing officer and adjutant at Norwich. "It's not the first time that this has been brought up."

The corps of cadets and civilian students have lived and worked together for 20 years. "Our leaderships definitely work together," said Iphagainia Tanguay, the director of residential life. "Our staff fosters those times that we can work together."

According to Tanguay, the civilian dorms South Hall and Crawford Hall are each headed by a residential coordinator (RC) and an assistant residential coordinator (ARC). Each floor has one or two residential advisors (RA) depending upon its size; there are about 30 students per RA.

The role of a cadre member in the corps, and that of a RA, RC or ARC, are comparable in purpose and position within their lifestyle.

"The role of an RA is multifaceted," said Tanguay, who had been an RA in college. "It certainly is student leader, it's role model, sometimes it's social director or educator."

"Basically what I do is I ensure first and foremost the safety of my residents on the floor," said Giavana Di Giorno, a 19-year-old sophomore psychology major from Dallas, Texas, and an RA in Crawford Hall. Di Giorno mainly works with freshmen, including lifestyle transfers from the corps.

In addition to planning a required three optional events for her floor per semester, Di Giorno has other duties. "I am the disciplinarian on the floor so I ensure that they aren't getting too rowdy, and are doing their studies, and to get them through college in a positive manner."

According to Derek Radtke, a 19-year-old sophomore communications major from Wesley Chapel, Fla., who is an RA, each member of the residential staff is required to rotate certain duty shifts throughout the week. Residential staff patrol the buildings from 7 p.m. to midnight on weeknights and Sunday night, and from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Within the corps, cadre staff fill similar positions of authority over either upperclassmen or first-year corps students. A military cadet chain of command is accountable for freshmen cadets. This staff is responsible for the training and well being of an approximately equal number of students as an RA.

"I define cadre as a big brother/big sister mentoring thing. It's going to teach the future leaders of America how to lead correctly," said Vinny Christiano, a 21-year-old junior criminal justice major from Andover, Mass., who is a freshman cadet staff sargeant. As a cadre member, "you are the example and you are supposed to be the definition of the corps of cadets."

Cadre members do not receive monetary compensation. RAs do.

"I get a thousand (dollars) off the room and board portion of tuition every semester. There is a stipend of $800 spread out over the year and the biggest perk is getting a reputation around campus," Di Giorno said.

"I did not know that (corps cadre) did not get a salary for that, (because) I kind of view it as the same kind of job," Di Giorno said.

She added, "I think it should be equal," regarding whether cadre should be paid. "It's kind of the same job. I don't see why they wouldn't, especially since they do more hours towards it than we do."

RAs receive a stipend of $800, ARCs receive $1,600 and RCs receive $1,800.

According to Tanguay, Norwich is on the low end of compensation for college residential advising staff.

Cadre are also involved in extensive cadet training that could impact their lives academically and socially, and their ability to rest, according to Christiano.

Christiano, who has Sundays off from his duties as cadre, said, "Even if you have a day off, you don't really have a day off." The rooks "still greet you; they still come to you with questions. It's a 24-hour job. It's a big commitment."

RAs and cadres are similar in their leadership roles, such as training and engaging students.

Said Tanguay, "I don't know if (the role of a cadre is) more detailed, it may be different. We don't have to do the military training type activities with our students, but I think that's probably the biggest difference if there is any."

Both have to help freshmen acclimated to a college lifestyle. "At first, it is a little difficult with some (freshmen)," said Di Giorno. "(They are) a little clique-ish, especially the sports (athletes), but with orientation they kind of loosen up and get to know people."

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