Resident assistants prepare for closing dorms
TNE Editor
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Resident assistants prepare for closing dorms

Published 11/29/17

Trenton Morgan

TNE Writer

When any break in classes happens during a semester, some students leave earlier than others according to responsibilities. The Housing and Residence Life staff must always stay behind to close down campus when almost all others have left. This part of a resident assistant’s job usually includes room inspections and walkthroughs.

RAs enter a student’s room under few circumstances throughout a semester. Unless there is a special incident requiring an RA, the only situations are monthly health and safety inspections and closing walkthroughs. It is during these that many students are written up for items they should not have, cleanliness issues or other policy violations.

“We do monthly health and safety inspections within a few days leading up to closing,” said Kelsie Tulk, Cobb RA. “We do these to check to make sure the smoke detectors work and to check for room cleanliness. Once the halls close, we go back through to make sure everyone has left or make sure they have signed up to stay. We also make sure the windows are closed and locked, the lights are turned off and nothing that is a fire hazard is left plugged in. We tend to find a lot of unlocked doors, which is breaking a housing policy, and sometimes find alcohol.”

When a policy is broken, RAs are required to document the situation and any student involved. This can sometimes lead to residents having bitter emotions toward Housing and Residence Life staff. RAs are encouraged to be stern but friendly when approaching situations and to revisit students who were involved to ensure a positive relationship is kept. However, some students see RAs as people who have their job solely to get residents in trouble.

“I would like for students to realize that, yes, I am an RA, but I’m also just a student,” said Hannah Godfrey, North Leoser RA. “I’m a regular person who likes to do regular people things. I don't just stay in my room looking for ways to get on to people. I’m most of the residents’ age so I love to be friends with them if they want to. I love the thought that my residents can come to me with any issue they’re having without hesitation and know they can trust me.”

Item and policy violations most commonly broken are usually due to students not knowing what is and is not allowed in the dorms. Some of the most common item violations include toaster ovens, lava lamps, candles, grills, alcohol, alcohol paraphernalia, pullup bars and space heaters. Rarer encounters RAs have had include a sex doll, a mattress in a public space used for intercourse, piles of old food and furniture taken from public spaces. Although some items may not be prohibited, RAs are mindful of Title IX violations and how certain things affect other students and cleanliness.

“Closings are somewhat stressful times because we have to check everything, but it is nowhere near as stressful as closing at the end of the spring semester,” said David Girod, Cobb RA. “We are not scary people. We are here to help the residents and assist them with things they need. My residents are some of the nicest, best nuggets on campus. We are also really just interested in making a connection with residents because without residents we wouldn't have jobs.”

Students are encouraged to ask RAs any questions regarding rules in the dorms, the conduct process or any issues. Students can always check the residence handbook online for listed rules, policies and procedures.

For more information, visit the Housing Office in Leoser or speak to any RA in the halls or at the hall front desk.



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