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Is Residential Life Staff Friend or Foe?

Elm+hall%2C+one+of+Pace%27s+residential+buildings.+Photo+by+Joseph+Tucci.
Elm hall, one of Pace's residential buildings. Photo by Joseph Tucci.

Elm hall, one of Pace's residential buildings. Photo by Joseph Tucci.

Elm hall, one of Pace's residential buildings. Photo by Joseph Tucci.

Abby Stucker, Featured Writer

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I wanted to know what students generally thought about Residential Life on campus, specifically how they feel about the quality of work of their Resident Assistants (RA) and Resident Directors (RD) on campus.

While Residential Life wasn’t available to be interviewed, multiple students said they loved their RDs.

One mentioned, “She’s really nice, easy to talk to and she’s relatable, I think it’s because she’s younger.” Another student said of their RD, “I haven’t talked to her much but I think she does a good job as an RD and we always have events going on in our Hall so I think I can accredit that to her.”

Other students had opposing thoughts, however. A sophomore explained their personal experience with the Residential Life staff.

“The toilet in my house has been broken for a week and nothing has been done to fix it,” the anonymous student said. “[RAs] don’t care about people with roommate issues and are not committed to helping. They just want free housing.

“This is particularly a problem with the RDs who are more disconnected from the students but have the most influence. They are more interested in doing the bare minimum that is required of them and do not care about the residents or their issues at all.”

One other girl, I spoke to told me that she had an issue in her room and when she went to the RD to try to resolve the issue she said it “felt like nothing was done to help” and believes made the problem worse.

By definition, an RA helps the social, academic, and personal adjustment of students to the residence hall and university. The RA develops a sense of community among residents as members of a floor, residents of a hall, and active participants in the residence life system.

The RA enforces the rules and policies of Residence Life and the University. The RA acts as a link between residents and the University administration.

And RDs are specially trained full-time university employees, generally responsible for the management and daily operations of campus residence halls or dormitories. Another aspect of being a Residence Hall Director is that they also tend to live in the hall or a separate adjoining apartment. They also tend to be on call 24-hours a day and are generally called by their RAs if problems arise.

The question is: are Pace RAs and RDs living up to their job descriptions?

I believe there should be a forum where students can anonymously send in complaints or concerns. The only personal information that should be disclosed is where the student lives, so the staff knows where the complaints are directed.

This could be really beneficial because students can provide their real, honest thoughts and complaints without being judged. And the receiving end of the forum could benefit because they’d be receiving messages about issues that are really going on with no sugarcoating.

Also, it would be a way for students to express and acknowledge anything they really liked or appreciated that an RA or RD did. This idea can really open up lines of communication between both parties. This way there’s a solution to relieve the possible tension or frustration that students might be feeling towards Residential Life.

I know Pace sends out surveys for students to complete for feedback and I think they have the right idea by sending those out to our school emails.

I personally find two flaws in that system, however. First, those surveys ask specific questions and the required answers are directed towards those questions. Second, the surveys are not mandatory so not every student is going to fill it out, thus, the overall reaction may not be accurate. Some students think the surveys don’t make difference anyway so they don’t fill them out.

One thing I know for sure is that students have thoughts and those thoughts should be heard in the community.

We are a progressive university and with the initiation of this forum, we could progress even more as a community.

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