The 2019-20 academic year will welcome 53 new and returning resident assistants (RAs) to campus.
Residence Life’s website describes RAs as “an important member of a residence hall staff team that provides guidance and support for all residential students in the assigned residence hall.” This includes community building, activity organizing and peer counseling.
According to Residence Life Director Andrew Weingarten, these RAs should view themselves as representatives and employees of the university.
“(The RA role) involves a lot of additional expectations and standards because they’re highly regarded as role models,” Weingarten said. “(They’re) expected to maintain exemplary standards of personal conduct and discretion in their behavior.”
Mehling Hall Director Morgan Palm described RAs as peer-level community resources.
“The RA position is something that is sought after, and there is extensive training to become an RA,” Palm said. “I think that it’s natural for people to look to RAs as a representative (of the university).”
According to Weingarten, RAs are expected to maintain these standards on and off duty. The Pilots Care policy, for example, does not protect RAs from disciplinary actions in relation to their position.
“The Pilots Care policy isn’t going to change the fact that (conduct standard in Life on the Bluff) are expected of RAs,” Weingarten said.
According to Weingarten, earlier this semester the RA contract went under routine review to clarify issues related to Title IX, University code of conduct and diversity and inclusion.
“Feedback on the RA contract so far has been that it reads a lot more easily,” Weingarten wrote in an email. “We expect all of our staff in Residence Life to be educational, caring, and professional in their roles.”
Sam Cushing is a reporter for The Beacon. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.