Mission and Core Values
In our halls live mature, responsible, caring students who share and experience a common sense of community.
Academics: We will assist students in making connections between the abilities they develop within the classroom and their experience out of the classroom.
Accountability: We will conduct fair, timely, consistent and educational hearings; after all pertinent information has been collected. We will follow up with any student who fails to comply with sanctioning resulting from an incident. This follow up may/will result in removal from on campus housing or removal from the University.
Leadership Opportunities: We will support and challenge our students to grow as leaders through our programming efforts, positive role modeling, and teaching followership. We will encourage informal leadership as well as formal leadership skills.
Volunteerism: We will encourage students to become an integral member of their community through assisting others.
Staffing: We will collectively provide programs and services, which assist the individual student in reaching educational, personal and career goals.
Environment: We will provide facilities that can be shared by everyone within the community, and are safe, clean, secure, and conducive to both living and learning.
Respect: We will respect every student, staff, and faculty member as an individual at all times.
We will create and maintain an atmosphere that is comfortable for any person without regard to race, religion, color, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, age or gender.
RA Job Description
Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania
Division of Student Affairs
Resident Assistant Terms of Employment/Job Description
Terms of Employment
1. Resident Assistants must have an overall cumulative grade point average of 2.3 at the time of applying for the position and must maintain this throughout employment. Dropping below a 2.3 or any significant drop in semester GPA could warrant review of his/her eligibility to continue in the position.
2. No other employment on campus or off campus is permitted. Outside activities are acceptable to the extent that they do not interfere with the expectations of the Resident Assistant position. All plans for outside activities must be discussed with the Resident Director before making any commitments to them. The Resident Director will review any requests for additional employment on a case by case basis.
3. Resident Assistants are to devote approximately 26 hours per week to fulfill the responsibilities of the position.
4. Resident Assistants are expected to return to campus before the beginning of each semester to attend Resident Assistant Training and assist with opening residence halls at the beginning of semesters and after vacations (Thanksgiving and Spring Breaks).
5. Adequate coverage is needed to close the buildings at the end of each semester and during breaks (Thanksgiving and Spring Breaks). Resident Assistants are expected to remain until all official closing responsibilities are completed.
6. Students participating in student teaching assignments or field work internships cannot be Resident Assistants. (Exceptions can be requested through consultation with the Resident Director and the Dean of Student Affairs or Dean of Student Development).
7. Continued service is dependent upon performance of responsibilities as determined by the Resident Directors and the Dean of Student Affairs or Dean of Student Development, and can be reviewed at any time. Resident Assistants are evaluated each semester by the Resident Director.
8. Resident Assistants are required to complete the Resident Assistant Intention Form during the spring semester. Continued service will be based on their evaluations and intention forms.
9. Resident Assistants are individuals of, and role models to, the community in which they live and are required to adhere to University policies and procedures, University Code of Conduct, supervisor expectations, and all relevant Federal, State and local laws. If there is unacceptable conduct, personnel (job) action will be the first step in the discipline process; however, judicial action may follow.
10. Resident Assistants are required to be on campus three out of four weekends per month, including major weekends (i.e. Homecoming and Family Day). This term of employment should be used as a guide for Resident Assistants and Resident Directors. The supervising Resident Director has discretionary authority to grant a request for exceptions to this requirement.
11. Resident Assistants must attend all scheduled staff meetings and required in-service training. Resident Assistants are required to attend 3 in-service training sessions during each semester.
12. Resident Assistants are expected to attend one staff meeting per week, required in-service training, and training before the beginning of each semester. Attendance is required at other special meetings called by the Resident Directors and the Dean of Student Affairs or Dean of Student Development.
13. Resident Assistants may be called upon to perform other campus related responsibilities not designated on this job description.
Fundamental Job Duties
I. Establishing the Environment Within the Residence Hall
A. Assist new and returning students in their adjustment to college life, acting as a model for friendliness and assistance.
B. Be available to students on an ongoing basis.
C. Meet with residents to decide together the type of positive environment they would like to achieve on the wing and in the building.
D. Work with residents to help them understand their role in maintaining an atmosphere conducive to a living-learning environment.
E. Help to instill in students a respect for one another and for private and public property.
F. Hold wing meetings often for informational purposes and to discuss areas of concern.
G. Assess the needs of residents in order to coordinate appropriate programs and involve students in program planning.
H. Be an educator, engaging students in meaningful discussions on topics of interest or concern.
I. Be available to
The objective of a program/hall activity is to build community on a floor and in a residence hall. Programming will help unite the residents of the wing/floor. The more programs a Resident Assistant provides, the more likely they are to establish a positive atmosphere on their floor and in their residence hall.
A. Coordinate a minimum of four (4) programs each semester. Two must be of an educational/cultural nature with an option for one of these programs to bring a group of residents to a program already in place. Resident Directors may provide more expectations in this area.
B. Complete a program report form after each program and give it to your Resident Director within one week of the completing the program.
C. Assess the
needs of the wing/floor prior to planning programs and present a Program
Planning form to the Resident Director prior to the program. The Resident
Director will notify the Resident Assistants of their expectation of acceptable
time between Planning form presentation and the actual holding of the
III. Administrative Responsibilities
A. Assist in the prompt completion of various reports as is necessary for the efficient administration of the hall (Safety Checks, Duty Logs, Incident Reports, Program Reports, Room Condition Reports, Etc.).
B. Keep Resident Director informed of all incidents, problems, or potential problems. Incident Reports need to turned in within 24 hours of an incident or earlier if the incident is more severe/serious.
IV. Responsibilities for the Health and Safety of Students
1. Duty starts at 17:45 and ends at 07:00 the next morning. When on duty Resident Assistants must be available and remain in the Residence Hall.
2. Resident Assistants must be able to identify, confront, enforce, and document all violations of University policies and procedures. Resident Assistants must also be able to physically respond to the location of emergencies. This includes responding to other residence halls when a situation requires. These duties must be performed without posing a threat of harm to the students, University property, or the Resident Assistant.
3. Work desk duty from 18:00 to 19:00 and from 23:00 to 00:00 and, when assigned, carry out the responsibilities outlined for Desk Receptionists.
4. Do rounds when on duty. During a round, Resident Assistants are required to check all areas of the residence hall including all exterior doors (check for proper function and make sure that appropriate doors are locked) and fire extinguishers (check gauges for proper charge and make sure all fire extinguisher are in place). The first round is done at 17:45 before working desk at 18:00. One round should be performed each hour with the last round of the night taking place after desk duty at 00:00. Additional rounds may be necessary if there are problems in the Residence hall. Rounds provide residents with the opportunity to get to know Resident Assistants and allow Resident Assistants to be aware of and deal with problems as they arise.
5. Resident Assistants need to report any situations with which they need assistance to the Resident Director. On weekends Resident Assistants must contact the Resident Director on Duty. Resident Assistants must contact their Resident Director or the Resident Director on Duty (weekends) when situations require contacting Law Enforcement, the Fire Department, or requesting an ambulance.
6. Lock all outside doors of the building at closing and complete the duty log.
7. Resident Assistants on backup duty must be available and remain in the residence hall from 22:00 to 07:00 the next morning.
B. Medical Problems
1. Encourage students to utilize the services of the University Health Service and to share any information on any chronic medical conditions of residents with the Resident Director.
2. If a resident develops a serious medical problem, contact your Resident Director or the Resident Director on duty (weekends). In emergency situations, it may be more appropriate to first contact LHUP Law Enforcement Personnel.
3. Contact Law Enforcement or local emergency medical services to report sick or injured students. Resident Assistants may not transport sick or injured students to the hospital.
C. Safety on Campus
Resident Assistants should report any incidents or conditions that you see on campus that might prove to be a danger to the health or safety of the campus community to LHUP Law Enforcement and/or Safety personnel immediately. Resident Assistants may be asked to respond to other residence halls when a situation requires (fires or other emergencies). These duties must be performed without posing a threat of harm to the students, University property, or the Resident Assistant
V. Special Areas
Resident Directors assign Resident Assistants an area of special responsibility each semester. These areas could include but are not limited to: working with Desk Receptionists, fire and safety, bulletin boards, log book, staff development coordinator, hall newsletter, maintenance, and Hall Council Liaison.
VI. Disciplinary Responsibilities
A. Be knowledgeable of University policies and procedures and with the University Judiciary System.
B. Resident Assistants must be able to identify, confront, enforce, and document all violations of University policies and procedures. Resident Assistants must also be able to physically respond to the location of emergencies. This includes responding to other residence halls when a situation requires. These duties must be performed without posing a threat of harm to the students, University property, or the Resident Assistant.
C. Work in conjunction with residents to see that an atmosphere conducive to living and learning is maintained.
D. Complete an Incident Report form for violations of University policies and procedures and return it to your Resident Director within 24 hours of the incident or earlier if the incident is more severe/serious.
VII. Professional Responsibilities within the Staff
A. Get to know your peers and your supervisor and establish a positive working relationship with them.
B. Work closely and communicate with your Resident Director. Keep him/her informed of events in the hall and use him/her as a resource person.
C. Resident Assistants are expected to be respectful and professional when dealing with Student Life Staff members (professional and paraprofessional).
D. Resident Assistants are expected to abide by all expectations from the supervisor and, as such, are expected to contribute positively to the hall staff team and Student Affairs team.
THE STAFF TEAM
The staff team consists of a Resident Director and the Resident Assistants who are working with him/her in a residence hall. The dynamics of this group will to a large degree determine the kind of success each staff member will have in doing his/her job.
The basic elements of a good staff team relationship are:
- willingness to listen
- willingness to contribute
- willingness to cooperate
- willingness to learn
- ability to take and give constructive criticism
- acknowledgment on the part of each staff member of the necessity to uphold the job responsibilities and standards expected of his/her position
- loyalty to each other.
Every weekly staff meeting should be used to develop those factors. Staff members must be encouraged to share experiences, ways of handling problems, right and wrong approaches to various situations, requests for help. This does not necessitate the breaking of confidences, but whether or not information is confidential. Staff members must remember not to treat information from staff meetings as gossip.
It is important to remember that the responsibility for developing a successful staff rests with every member, not just with the Resident Director.
Each member should feel an obligation to learn from and to contribute to the rest of the group.
I. THE ROLE OF THE RESIDENT ASSISTANT
The explanation and interpretation of the role of the Resident Assistant is difficult. The new student has little or no idea of what the Resident Assistant does, what the Resident Assistant's relationship is to the group, or perhaps most important, what type of personal relationship can be expected to develop with the Resident Assistant. If the student has been in contact with upper-class students at Lock Haven, they may have told him/her of their experiences with Resident Assistants. Whether or not the student has any preconceived ideas, it is always good to be aware of factors that determine what relationship shall exist between you.
The duties and responsibilities of the Resident Assistant should be explained to students and provision should be made for questions. Your principal responsibilities may appear clearly defined to you, but may not become apparent to the student without some degree of emphasis upon your part.
1. Explanation should be made to students of the following basic duties of the Resident Assistant:
a. Advising students on academic, vocational, personal and social problems.
b. Working with officers and representatives to help them set up a well rounded program of activities.
c. Maintaining a positive group atmosphere, compliance with University regulations, and the establishment of conditions conducive for study.
2. It is recommended that the Resident Assistant keep these considerations in mind:
a. One's availability is one of the first aspects a student will judge about a Resident Assistant. There is no substitute for spending time in the hall and being available (and approachable) since availability is equated with personal interest in the position.
b. It is the Resident Assistant's responsibility to become acquainted with each student in his/her area. Aside from the personal interest this relationship conveys, students do not usually come to strangers for assistance.
c. The "helping hand" you extend is facilitated by having a wide store of information about the University - or knowing where to obtain such specific information, if needed (e.g. tutorial or counseling services, Family Planning).
d. The Resident Assistant's role frequently demands that he/she clarify an administrative position or a policy or actions of a University service. Lack of clarification may lead to erroneous impressions, misconceptions and the development of unrealistic, biased attitudes.
e. A "student governing" hall is preferred to a "Resident Assistant governing" hall. The supervision and well-being of the living group is a joint responsibility of hall member, student leader and Resident Assistant. Responsibility rests with the hall member for regulating his/her actions. While an autocratic approach to supervision may seem more efficient to you, the best possible supervision is participating supervision. The hall and wing officers act to supplement individual efforts. As they effectively lead, control and direct the group, they shoulder responsibility that otherwise is yours. Your relationship with the officers is a determining factor in the achievement of the goals of the Student Affairs Division. Without a close working relationship, perhaps few if any goals may be more than partially realized.
f. Frequent group meetings are indispensable in helping you to carry out your responsibilities (interpreting policies, relaying information, resenting your ideas, etc.) Through meetings, the Hall Council and wing members are given an opportunity to serve a useful function. If properly chaired, meetings give students an excellent opportunity to thoroughly discuss common problems and gripes, and to resolve them in the best interests of all concerned. Such meetings should be set up with the cooperation of the Resident Assistant and their wing representative or hall officer.
g. The Resident Assistant is in a position to contribute to the student's self-understanding, since he/she observes the student in daily association with others. In the residence situation the personality traits which help or hinder the student are usually apparent. The Resident Assistant may have the task of helping the student understand his/her limitations before a satisfactory adjustment to college can be made.
h. The Resident Assistant strives to avoid becoming emotionally or objectively involved with student problems - a very difficult objective. An objective approach includes the following:
- Fairness - rather than partiality
- Firmness - rather than vacillation
- Consistency - rather than inconsistency
- Impartiality - rather than playing favorites
- Understanding - rather than "sliding with" or condoning.
i. It should not be considered that the Resident Assistant is patrolling the building; rather his/her role is to insure that certain standards of behavior are maintained for the protection of the rights and welfare of students. If he/she has respect for students, this principle should not be violated. In performing this work, some animosity may be aroused. If the Resident Assistant is on "solid ground", student objections or hard feelings will usually be overcome.
II. Professional Responsibilities
The relationships that the Resident Assistant establishes with their peers and supervisor have a great impact on the Resident Assistant's effectiveness and on their satisfaction with the job. Taking the responsibility to get to know each member of your staff team can only enhance your ability to work well together, to understand how each person views individuals and incidents and makes the job much more enjoyable.
The experience you have as a Resident Assistant can be valuable and educational for you. They can also be of value to your staff team, if you will share the information with them. You can help your staff team by discussion of situations, what happened, why it happened, staff of hall must function together as a team. When advice or suggestions are given, it should not be taken as personal criticism, rather it is aimed at helping you become a better staff member.
The Resident Director has been charged with the responsibility for the entire residence hall. The Resident Director needs to know what is happening in the building with the students, maintenance, Desk Receptionists and with other Resident Assistants. You need to sit down regularly with your Resident Director to keep him/her up-to-date with what is happening with you and with your hall. This may be done in both small staff meetings and individual appointments. When an emergency occurs, go to the Resident Director immediately. He/she will have the advice and information for you which may make your job easier.
D. Mutual Respect and
Respect for others and their viewpoints and an appreciation of each individual's particular strengths and weaknesses is an important aspect of functioning well as a team. Should a situation develop in which you have a concern with another staff member's performance, discuss the issue privately with the staff member concerned. Discussing such situations openly with other staff or in the presence of students leads others to see you as unprofessional.
This is another area where you have a great deal of responsibility for "making things work." The quality of your contribution during the staff meetings will have a great deal to do with how much you and other staff team members get from the meetings and can also have an impact on the quality of staff morale. Be an active participant, sharing ideas, viewpoints, and concerns. Make suggestions to your Resident Director about how your meetings could be improved.
As a member of the Student Life staff, we are concerned with your growth as a person and as a paraprofessional. In order to help you perform more effectively in all areas of your life and better handle your Resident Assistant job, the Student Life staff will schedule staff training sessions throughout the year. These sessions are in addition to your regular staff meetings and are mandatory. Subjects covered may include: organizing programs and activities on your wing, dealing effectively with counseling concerns and disciplinary situations, or budgeting your time and energies. Help us help you by attending staff training sessions, utilizing the information learned, and suggesting pertinent topic areas.
III. Professionalism within the Staff
A. Unity - Staff members need to be supportive of the actions of other staff members. If there are difficulties, staff members should discuss them privately to settle the misunderstanding rather than publicly undermine the role of another staff member.
B. Communication - The experiences you have as a Resident Assistant can be valuable and educational for you. They can also be of value to your staff team, if you will share the information with them. You can help your staff team by discussion of situations, what happened, why it happened, what you did, or how it might have been done differently. The entire staff of a hall must function together as a team. When advice or suggestions are given, it should not be taken as personal criticism, rather it is aimed at helping you become a better staff member.
C. Coordinator for Student Life/Resident Director - The Resident Director has been charged with the responsibility for the entire residence hall. The Director needs to know what is happening in the building with the students, maintenance, Desk Receptionists and with other Resident Assistants. You need to sit down regularly with your Director to keep him/her up-to-date with what is happening with you and with your hall. This may be done in both small staff meetings and individual appointments. When something special occurs, go to the Director immediately. He or she will have the advice and information for you which may make your job easier.
D. Staff Training - As a member of the Residence Life Staff, we are concerned with your growth as a person and as a paraprofessional. In order to help you perform more effectively in all areas of your life and better handle your Resident Assistant job, the Office of Student Life/Housing will schedule staff Training Sessions throughout the year. These sessions are in addition to your regular Resident Assistant meetings and are mandatory. Subjects covered may include: organizing programs and activities on your wing; dealing effectively with counseling concerns; disciplinary situations, or budgeting your time and energies. Help us help you by attending staff training sessions, utilizing the information learned and suggesting pertinent topic areas.
E. Wing Reps - Wing reps are one of the most important, yet overlooked resources available to the Resident Assistant. It is essential that you get to know your wing reps, for they can be of immeasurable help to you during the year.
The channels of communication between a Resident Assistant and wing rep should be for all purposes a two-way street. Allow the wing rep to share and help with the programs you sponsor on the wing or hall, and be ready to support and participate in programs which he/she or Hall Council may coordinate.
Remember, we gain the most by working together. Students on your wing will want to become more active when they see more people, such as the wing reps and others, become involved in the planning of an activity.
IV. Your Time
A. Studies - In one sense, you were accepted to the position of Resident Assistant because you were a successful student. Because we want you to continue developing yourself academically while holding this job, you must learn to budget your time. The time when you are the busiest with your Resident Assistant job is usually the time everyone is busiest with academic work. If you budget your time to get assignments done in advance, you will not feel as much "end-of-the-semester panic".
B. Time spent in the halls - As a Resident Assistant you are expected to spend much of your free time in the residence halls. If you're only accessible during the time you are on duty, you will not have time to build rapport with the residents. Availability to the residents is one of the keys to success for a Resident Assistant. Therefore, studying whenever possible should be done in the hall. If you cannot study there due to living conditions, probably the residents cannot study there either. This is initially essential to establish a community, which is conducive to the academic pursuits.
C. Resident Assistant cannot expect to be out of the hall every night. (You may not leave the night you are on duty.) You must use your own judgment and discretion on how often you wish to stay out late. If you are seldom in the hall or your room, you will find that residents seldom stop by your room. For the sake of your own mental and physical health though, you should try to get away from the campus for a week-end once a month. All that is necessary is that you check the duty schedule and let your Resident Director know that you would like to be away
D. Participation in events - Whenever a hall or wing sponsors an event, the Resident Assistant should try to attend. Of course, you may not be able to make every event, but do not expect the residents to be interested and active if you don't show your interest and support.
Evaluation plays an important role in the Student Affairs Division. Resident Assistants are evaluated as are the professional staff members. The purpose of an evaluation system is fourfold; a) to provide staff members with feedback on their job performance; b) to help staff members identify area of strength and weakness in order to further his/her development in the position; c) to identify areas for staff training and; d) for input in retention decisions.
Evaluation of Resident Assistants takes two forms. Your Resident Director will evaluate you formally at the end of each semester of your employment using the form at the end of this manual. They will most probably also provide you with feedback on an ongoing basis.
Each Resident Assistant is also evaluated by the residents of his/her wing. The evaluations will be completed during the first semester of employment and in each semester after that if the staff member is returning for the following semester.
ETHICAL STANDARDS OF THE R.A. WITH RESPECT TO DISCIPLINE
As a trained paraprofessional, the Resident Assistant (RA) is expected to observe an exemplary standard of conduct in dealing with students and in fulfilling job-related responsibilities. Although all RAs are students, they are also members of the Student Life staff and, as such, their actions reflect directly on that office and the University as a whole.
In keeping with professional ethics, the RA is expected to be thoroughly familiar with the policies and regulations which govern students at Lock Haven University. Furthermore, the Resident Assistant has an obligation to set an example for other students by respecting and upholding these policies. In addition, each RA is expected to take an active role in the enforcement of all college policies as set forth in the policies and regulations of the University.
The nature of the RA position is such that RAs will become privy to what is often regarded as confidential information. In most instances, the information is communicated to an RA precisely because that person is an RA. Therefore, the RA has a duty to keep his supervisor informed about any information relating to an incident(s) or event(s) that occurred or is imminent in which the physical or psychological safety of any student is involved. The RA should exercise prudent and judicious care to see that such "confidential information" is not discussed in the presence of other students or where he might be overheard by other parties.
In a similar context, RA's must exercise a professional concern for confidentiality in dealing with disciplinary cases. The RA is expected to discuss individual cases only with those persons directly involved in the disciplinary process. Specifically, the RA should discuss cases only with the students involved, the RAs immediate supervisor and other college officials, such as the Assistant Dean of Students or the office of Student Affairs, who have a "need to know". In some cases, the Resident Director or Assistant Dean of Students may deem it appropriate for other residence hall staff to be notified of a particular incident. Inquiries from involved parties seeking information regarding an alleged student violation should be referred to the Resident Director or Assistant Dean of Students.
Professional Ethics and Attitudes towards the student
1. Because of the potentially sensitive and very personal situations you may be called upon to help with, there are some very important standards which you must maintain. Here are a few.
A. Role Model - A personal example. Since you are attempting to develop the maturity of the young people with whom you are working, it goes without explanation that you must set a particularly good example. Your behavior will have a strong influence on your residence hall and on the campus. It must be consistent with what you say. You cannot enforce the residence hall rules if you do not obey them yourself. Your actions reflect back to your position and to the Residence Life Staff. This extends not only to your personal interactions with your residents but also to your portrayal in the cyber-community. R.A.’s must be aware of the constant scrutiny that they are under when posting pictures, making comments or joining online groups. Monitor your online information and ensure that it is consistent with that of a positive role-model.
B. Objectivity - You cannot be effective if you permit yourself to become overly emotional in dealing with the problems of residents. Only by being objective can you be of maximum service. If you register, by your words or facial expressions any approval or disapproval, you will likely not hear the entire story. Never give a resident the impression that you think his/her question or comment is foolish. Before you say anything be aware of your own prejudices.
C. Being Real - Being yourself is the key to sincerity. Sincerity and interest are indispensable to the individual with whom you are working. The residents will know whether or not you are genuinely concerned. In order to be effective on your wing you will have to project a real concern or interest for the individuals on the wing. This can be achieved by being visible, available and involved.
D. Confidentiality - Your responsibility to the resident. Because a breach of confidence will shatter rapport with a resident, it is important that you initially let him/her know what your responsibilities are in terms of information you must relay or can keep confidential.
When a student tells you that he wants to discuss something that "must be kept a secret" you have a choice of responsibilities; to the student and to your job. The person should be told that if the information imparted is detrimental to the individual or hall, it may be necessary to set rigid guidelines as to what kind of information you should or should not keep confidential. Generally speaking, however, the following will provide examples of material that you must, as an advisor, relay to a superior.
1. A personal problem of the person talking or of another individual in which you think there is a potential danger to the person involved or to those around him/her.
2. Additional information regarding a disciplinary infraction that you consider to be serious - and therefore needs further appropriate action.
3. Information that leads you to believe that a resident is disturbed or upset to the point that he is clearly in need of professional help. These judgments are difficult to make, but it is much wiser to err in the direction of discussing a problem with your director than to keep silent. Of course your director is also interested in hearing about the everyday or less serious situations on your wing.
E. The Importance of Referral - You are not to attempt serious counseling yet there are going to be students who need this type of extensive help. Your most prominent sign will be that a student's symptoms are extreme; for example, that he is very depressed and you cannot seem to bring about a change in attitude and feelings through your talking to him.
Referrals may seem a "cop-out" to some, but it should be emphasized to the person the limits of your ability and experience.
II. Working with people
Each person in the residence hall, aside from his/her place in the social pattern, is important as an individual. A person’s needs, desires, frustrations and difficulties in adjustment are more important to him/her than anything else. Develop the habit of thinking in terms of individual differences as well as the importance of the group. There can be no rules for dealing with people if those rules are not supported by real feelings on your part, but here are some general methods and attitudes to develop if you wish to be successful in human relations. Some seem repetitive but their importance is paramount.
A. Avoid criticizing people, especially in public.
B. Instead of giving orders, make requests and give reasons for them.
C. Question discretely. People appreciate sincere interest, but they resent inquisitiveness.
D. Do not talk about another person or his/her problems except to that person or to people from who you are seeking professional advice.
E. Know your residents as well as possible.
F. Give support, encouragement, appreciation.
G. Understand behavior by considering needs.
H. Remain objective. Think before acting. Do not exaggerate the problem. Also, this means avoid taking an argumentative position.
I. Appeal to the better side of your residents by showing them trust and asking them favors and by calling them to do their best.
J. Be aware of exactly what you are communicating to people, both verbally and otherwise. Remember that you communicate a great deal through facial expressions and other actions. Be aware of your own needs and "hang-ups" so you know when they are affecting your actions.
What we are saying in summary is that you should consider the other persons viewpoint. This principle is hard to follow, but is fundamental. It is also important to be yourself. You cannot successfully play a role which is only assumed and does not represent your own feelings and personality.
Each residence hall has a director who supervises the hall and is available to consult with any student. Resident Directors have responsibility for administrative matters associated with operating a residence hall, supervising Resident Assistants and advising hall council. Professional staff members are trained in the area of counseling, or student personnel, and are available to help students with personal, social and academic concerns. Resident Directors also act as judicial hearing officers.
Relating to Others
What Human Relations is and why it is so important
Human relations in its most simplistic form constitute any interaction between two or more people. This interaction will usually include a verbal and nonverbal exchange of ideas, beliefs, views, feelings, attitudes and opinions.
Human relations programs provide learning experiences that integrate communications skills with the issues of racism, sexism, prejudice, and discrimination. Learning about these issues is insufficient, unless we develop the skills to change attitudes and behaviors, and communicate in new ways with people of different cultural backgrounds and lifestyles.
Even when we are silent, we are sending a variety of messages, therefore, "you cannot not communicate." With enlightened communication, prejudice and discrimination may be reduced, and an appreciation for diversity developed.
Commitment to the development of an appreciation and respect for diversity is of vital importance. The university environment represents a microcosm of the entire world. Here, you will find people from different cultural backgrounds, beliefs, attitudes, and lifestyles.
As a whole, we usually respond well to those who are very much like us, but are often put off by those who are different. Cultural and lifestyle differences are often met with disinterest, animosity, and disdain. Those feelings are usually based on fear, misinformation, and misunderstanding.
When we refuse to recognize diversity, or intentionally undermine its influence, we deny ourselves the opportunity to be enriched by each other. Understanding and accepting diversity can determine how successful we are academically, occupationally, and socially.
Therefore, it is important that students use this unique learning experience to sharpen their interpersonal understanding, and communication skills. Ultimately, the enhancement of our human relations skills is a major goal of higher education.
STAGES OF MAJORITY MEMBER CULTURAL AWARENESS
As we begin to think about a human relations program, it is essential that you understand something about your own awareness of racial attitudes and discrimination. Helms (1984), suggests a model for understanding Whites development of racial consciousness via a progression through five stages: Contact, Disintegration, Reintegration, Pseudo/Independence, and Autonomy. According to Helms, because Whites are the majority group in our culture, they can choose environments that permit them to remain fixated at a particular stage of racial consciousness. While the Helms theory is developed to explain the racial consciousness of Whites, the parallels between male/female, heterosexual/homosexual, and host/foreign visitor relationships are compelling.
The following stages are representative of different levels of majority member sensitivity to minority member concerns. The majority member distinction suggests that majority groups are those groups in a society whom, by the virtue of their group's control of economic, cultural and other rewards, has had a negative effect on groups unlike themselves. Using this description, majority groups would like to include the following: White American, men, heterosexuals, non handicapped peoples, etc. Each stage is briefly described, behaviors and attitudes associated with the stage are identified, and some examples of the students' statements associated with the stage are listed.
1. Contact Stage - In this stage, majority members become aware of the existence of minority members. They do not perceive themselves as "racial beings" and tend to assume that racist and cultural differences are unimportant.
Behaviors and attitudes:
- Believes that everyone is the same
- Has a naive curiosity about culturally different people
- Encounters with a minority group is a minor crisis
- Believes in the "melting pot" theory of assimilation
- "When I talk to you, I don't think of you as black."
- "You can do whatever you want to do as long as you don't do it around me."
- "Some of my best friends are members of our group."
- "Why are all the minority students sitting together?"
2. Disintegration Stage - In this stage, the person acknowledges that prejudice and discrimination exist and they are forced to view themselves as a majority group member. Guilt may emerge as racial, cultural, and sexual orientation differences become more apparent.
Behaviors and attitudes:
- Sees self as less prejudice than most other members of the majority group
- Wants to be seen as an individual and not a member of any group
- May attempt to protect minority members from negative interactions with majority group members
- May over identify with culture of the minority group
- "I am not like most men; I am very sensitive to the needs of women."
- "My parents are very prejudice but I am not."
- "I am not responsible for the negative actions of majority group members."
- "Most Whites are prejudice towards minority students."
3. Reintegration State - In this stage, the majority members tends to blame the victim (minority members) for creating their own problem. They denigrate minority groups and show a tendency to internalize positive attitudes about majority groups as victim of reverse discrimination.
Behaviors and attitudes:
- Wants to focus on problems associated with own group
- Believes that we are all the same
- Thinks that too much attention is being placed on cultural differences
- Believes that minority groups are over-sensitive
- "Racism isn't the only problem, what about world hunger?"
- "I believe that quotas of any kind are wrong."
- "Gay and lesbian students have no reason to complain about discrimination."
- "Blacks are just as prejudiced as Whites."
4. Pseudo-independence Stage - In this stage the person accepts minority groups’ members at a conceptual level and becomes interested in understanding racial, cultural and sexual orientation differences. The interactions of these majority members tend to be with minority members perceived to be similar to self.
Behaviors and attitudes:
- Can articulate reasons for accepting minority groups
- Have friends who are members of minority groups
- Tends not to be involved in any activity support for minority group concern
- Believes that discrimination is a problem of the uneducated
- "I accept all minority group members and believe that we all should."
- "Women have the same abilities as men."
- "Racism and sexism are illogical."
5. Autonomy Stage - This final stage is characterized by the person becoming knowledgeable about racial, cultural and sexual orientation similarities. This person accepts, respects, and appreciates both minority and majority individuals.
Behaviors and attitudes:
- Seeks opportunities to involve themselves in cross-cultural interactions
- Values diversity
- Respects and appreciates cross-cultural interactions
- Is knowledgeable about cultural differences
- "I am actively involved in fighting racism."
- "I am a recovering sexist."
- "We are all members of the same global community."
- "Discrimination against any group has a negative affect on us all."
Helms, J. E., 1984.
"Towards a theoretical Explanation of the Effects of Race on Counseling: A
Black and White Model,” The Counseling Psychologist, 12.4,
STAGES OF MINORITY AWARENESS
Cross (1978) proposed a four stage model of psychological nigrescence or Black self-actualization in which he suggested that Black people move from a stage of racial consciousness characterized by self-abasement and denial of their blackness to a stage characterized by self-esteem and acceptance of their blackness. The Cross model can also be used to view how oppressed people in general react in an environment where they perceive a negative reaction from the majority group.
The following stages are typically experienced by minority group members (Blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, women, gays and lesbians, etc.). Each stage is briefly described, behaviors and attitudes associated with the stage are identified, and some examples of students" statements associated with the stage are listed.
1. Pre-encounter Stage - This is characterized by limited self-awareness about difference and dependence upon majority group for sense of worth.
Behaviors and attitudes:
toward the world and self are determined by majority groups' logic.
- One has dislike for one's own group, emulates majority group
- One accepts stereotypes of one's own group.
- One believes that assimilation is the most effective method for problem solving.
- "We're all just people."
- "Women are superficial." (By a woman)
2. Encounter State - A significant event creates receptivity to new identity.
Behaviors and attitudes:
- Intense search
for own group history, identity begins.
- Reinterprets all events from one's own group perspective
- Experiences deepen the trauma of discrimination
- "I've discovered that my being Black makes a difference to whites."
- "I was rejected because I was too emotional." (By a woman)
- "I met a man who was proud of being gay." (By a homosexual)
3. Immersion Stage - In this stage there is a transition from the old identity to a new identity and an emphasis on the destruction of the old identity and a glorification of the new identity.
Behaviors and attitudes:
- Participates in political action, rap groups, seminars, awareness groups, etc.
- Undergoes liberation from the majority group's values, stereotypes.
- Behaves as though the majority group member is not human.
- Confronts the system. - Person feels an overwhelming attachment to her/his own group
- Gradually both the strengths and weaknesses of majority group and own group become visible
- "Black is beautiful."
- "Men are so competitive."
- "Only gay men can be sensitive."
4. Internalization Stage - The new identity is incorporated and the individual can re negotiate with the majority.
Behaviors and attitudes:
- The person
behaves as if she/he has inner security.
- The person has compassion for all minority people and can transfer a values orientation to include all "isms," differences.
- The person demonstrates commitment, active participation in making social change.
- "I can learn from both men and women."
- "I'll never change his mind but I can live with his attitude."
- "To be liberated as a black man I must also confront my own sexism."
This lengthy description of these two models of cultural consciousness was presented so that you can evaluate where you might place yourself on the appropriate continuum. In summary, the stages for Majority members are as follows: Contact, Integration, Reintegration, Pseudo-intellectual, and Autonomy. For Minority Members the stages are: Pre-encounter, Encounter, Immersion/emersion and Internalization. With reference to the above mentioned description, take a moment and evaluate your own racial consciousness. A word to the wise, very few people are truly at either the autonomy or internalization stages of these two models.
Be aware that these theories suggest and imply that it is possible to develop or increase one's level of racial consciousness. Therefore, it is your job as a student leader to help students to explore and increase their awareness of their own racial attitudes, and to develop the cross-cultural awareness skills necessary for lifelong success.
Cross, W.E., Jr., 1978. "The Cross and Thomas Model of Psychological Nigrescence," Journal of Black Psychology, 5, 13-19.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT
Vern L. Bullough, Ph.D., Barry M. Dank, M.A., Howard E. Fradkin, Ph.D., James L. Kepner, Jr., W. Dorr Legg, M.L.D., and Robert E. Newton, B.S.
Magazine articles, books, news reporting, movies and public discussions of homosexuality are so plentiful today as to indicate a genuine public concern about the subject and a desire to better understand it. However, the layman has difficulty in finding simple, straightforward answers to many of his/her questions readily available in convenient form.
To help fill this need, a pamphlet (reprinted here) has been prepared by a panel of highly qualified social scientists and specialists, each of whom has studied homosexuality extensively and at least one of whom is himself homosexual. In addition to this study, each of the panelists has done much interviewing and counseling work with male and female homosexuals, gaining thereby a broad insight into the attitudes and behavior patterns of several thousand such persons.
The aim of this publication is to replace misconceptions and fears about homosexuality with a better understanding of the subject. It is hoped that this will result in improved and more humane attitudes toward those men and women for whom homosexuality is their way of life and effect a better integration into society of such individuals, many of whom are worthwhile and useful people. Such a goal would seem to be preferable to the traditional practice of alienating them and increasing the numbers of individuals who are a burden upon society.
The only basis for deciding whether one is or is not homosexual is a continuing erotic preference for partners of the same sex.
Does a homosexual act make
one a homosexual?
No. Many boys and girls during early childhood and adolescence have homosexual experiences without lasting effects. Also, under special circumstances, such as military service and prison life, homosexual behavior sometimes occurs on a temporary basis.
Can homosexuals be easily
Contrary to popular belief, most homosexual men and women are indistinguishable in appearance from other people. They are found in all walks of life, at all social and economic levels and among all cultural groups. Homosexual tastes and personalities vary as widely as do heterosexual. Some male homosexuals are feminine in manner and appearance and some female homosexuals seem masculine. Transvestites, those who prefer the clothing of the opposite sex, and transsexuals, those who feel they are trapped in the body of the wrong sex and therefore seek surgery, usually have a psychological make up quite different from that of most homosexuals.
Are homosexuals mentally
No. To label homosexuality as a mental illness reflects a value judgment based on social and religious attitudes, rather than on scientific evidence. Some homosexuals, like some heterosexuals, do indeed suffer from anxiety or other psychological difficulties. Quite often this has been brought on by pressures from a society which is intolerant and uninformed concerning homosexuality.
It is not yet known what causes either heterosexuality or homosexuality. It has been held that heterosexuals may be hormonally, genetically and biologically different from homosexuals. Others have argued that a young child's emotional relationships with his parents and those near to him will determine his sexual pattern in adulthood. Much further research will be needed before a definite answer can be given.
Can homosexuality be
Since homosexuality is merely one of the variations of sexual behavior and has been considered to be quite normal in some societies during various periods in history, a better question might be "Should homosexuals change? If so, why?" Available statistics indicate that large numbers of homosexuals see no reasons for wanting to change. Many of those who have tried to change have found treatment to be both long term and expensive with results often unsatisfactory. Many therapists now favor helping individuals to accept their homosexuality, rather than to seek change.
What kind of jobs do
Like other minority groups, they have tended to take those jobs having the fewest barriers. Thus, they are no more inclined to be hair dressers than African Americans are to be janitors. Surveys have shown that homosexuals can be found in every occupational grouping from the ministry to professional athletics and police forces. However, the majority of homosexuals must take pains not to reveal their homosexual inclinations on their jobs, for their efficient and effective job performance is often no protection to them if homosexuality is suspected.
Will having heterosexual
relations solve anything?
The homosexual who has already identified himself as such is seldom swayed by having some heterosexual experiences, particularly if they are sought out of desperation or anxiety. Homosexuals who try marriage as a way out usually end up by making not only themselves miserable but the spouse as well. Children of such marriages are also caught up in the tragedy.
Should homosexuals try to
resist their sex urges?
It would be as unrealistic to expect homosexuals to practice complete sexual abstinence as to expect heterosexuals to do the same. Undoubtedly some homosexuals manage, as do some heterosexuals, to remain celibate through their lives, but most people would find this not only impossible but undesirable.
What dangers do
One of the consequences of being a member of a disdained minority group is that homosexuals are frequently victimized by blackmailers and unscrupulous police. Since known homosexuals are excluded generally from employment by some unscrupulous employers and from membership in the armed forces, blackmailers may threaten them with exposure. Some homosexuals would rather pay money to such persons than to lose their jobs. Such abuses would be eliminated if the so-called sex laws were changed.
If the social and legal
sanctions against homosexuality were removed, would it increase?
Social and legal equality for homosexuals would undoubtedly lead to more openness about homosexuality. This might lead some people to think there had been an increase. It is also likely that some "borderline" cases, those who might have been trying to seek a heterosexual adjustment, would be less willing to do so. However, since homosexual tendencies are not usually acquired by choice, the state of law would be unlikely to make any difference in the number of homosexuals. The vast majority of people would remain heterosexual as at present. In countries having had legal freedom for homosexual behavior for many years, this has apparently been the usual result.
Resident Assistants (RAs) are upper class students who are carefully selected for their ability to help resident students. They are directly responsible to and work very closely with Resident Directors. RAs are responsible for helping students to maintain a safe, comfortable, friendly academic atmosphere. They serve as helpers, information disseminators, friends, rule enforcers, programmers for events, and administrators. Please feel free to consult your RA about any concerns or problems.
Peer Counseling Guidelines
PEER COUNSELING GUIDELINES
After the residents have learned to know and trust you, they may begin to talk with you about some of their personal concerns, and worries. As a peer counselor you may be able to help the student understand the problem, explore the alternatives that are open, and encourage him/her to make a wise decision. Listed below are some guidelines for forming a helping relationship with a fellow student.
1. Talk privately with the student. This point implies that the concerns of the student are not topics for discussion among all the residents on the floor. That which the student confides in you should remain in your confidence. Perhaps this seems like a contradiction to the directive that you should refer to the Student Life staff concerns with which you are inadequate to deal. Your responsibility is to both the staff and the students.
2. Be friendly and put the students at ease. Try to instill in them a feeling of trust and try to convey an attitude of accepting them. Accept the student as a person while rejecting some act she/he has been involved in. In other words, reject unacceptable behavior but not the person.
3. Listen and try to see the problem as they see it. Be empathic. View their concerns as they view them, but do not become emotionally involved to the extent that all objectivity is lost.
4. Allow them to talk freely and avoid unnecessary interruptions. It may be necessary to ask occasional questions for the purpose of clarification, but try to refrain from dominating the conversation. Silent periods may be uncomfortable, but may provide time for the organization of thoughts.
5. The concern first presented by the student may be only a superficial one. Be alert to the prospect that the student may be more troubled by another problem, but may not know how to initiate discussion of such a concern
6. Try to avoid making judgments about the morality of the student's thoughts or actions. The task is to assist the students in discovering the best possible action for them to pursue
7. Don't jump to conclusions or make assumptions. Ask for clarification if there is uncertainty about a point.
8. Avoid talking about yourself. Concentrate on the students and their concerns, and bring in your own experience only as it is relevant or assists in the clarification of a point.
9. After assisting them to see all alternatives, try to help the students develop a plan of action. Don't make their decisions for them.
- The Resident Assistant's should try to stay within their own limitations and are not expected to know how to handle every situation which presents itself. It is more beneficial to the student if the Resident Assistant refers a concern, rather than to become involved in a relationship which is uncomfortable and may result in possible harm to the student.
Many students who enter the University do not continue through graduation. There are a number of reasons for students to stop their education; lack of funds, academic failure, change in objectives (area of interest), and marriage are just a few. If we can assist students with their academic concerns through our residence hall program, we are answering one of the most pressing university needs.
Areas in which a contribution can be made towards academic success of students pertain to the tone of the group environment and working with individuals. Below are listed some common causes of academic failure and some suggestions on how you may help.
A. No goal - Students who do not have well defined goals seldom achieve peak performance. There may be an opportunity to discuss with these student educational and vocational goals. In many cases it may be helpful to refer the student to his/her academic advisor or to a member of the Student Life Staff.
B. Personal worries - Students who have many personal problems will often not do well academically. Perhaps they merely need someone who is a good listener. It their difficulties appear to be complex a referral is a must. Again, the student life staff can be helpful to these students.
C. Lack of pep - A normal amount of sleep and relaxation are essential. These are sometimes sacrificed by students who feel they must give extra time to study. In this group one also finds students who give too much time to recreation and are too tired to study. Help these students see things in their proper perspective.
D. Poor concentration - Some students think of concentration as some strange gift which they do not possess. Help them to understand the true nature of concentration - a number of specific habits organized around interest and effort.
E. Wasted hours - Students vary in their need for exact time schedules. Many who claim they cannot possibly use a schedule have never tried. Attempt to have them see for themselves the number of wasted hours in an unplanned day.
F. Reading weakness - Unfortunately there are many university student who have never learned to read properly. Point out the value of reading for ideas, with varied rates for varied materials and purposes.
G. Poor notes - Some notebooks are so lengthy that they are almost a second textbook, or so brief that they are meaningless. Point out the value of systematized, brief clear notes in the note taker's own words.
H. Inefficient review - Much of our forgetting takes place within a short time after the learning activity. Reviewing notes directly after class, followed by daily and weekly reviews is most efficient. Reviewing to find answers to questions will also be profitable for those who inefficiently try to study everything.
SIGNS TO BE WATCHFUL FOR
- Loss of appetite
- Unintentional weight loss or gain over a relatively short period of time
- Marked change in sleeping habits usually in the direction of insomnia, though excess sleeping can be an escape mechanism
- Loss of interest in physical appearance
- Daily activities
- Social events
- Withdrawal from
- Other normal social involvement
- A general feeling of physical and emotional exhaustion
- A feeling of hopelessness about things getting better in the near future and a feeling of helplessness over the control of the course of his/her life or the current stressful situation.
You, the Helper
As a helper involved with a suicidal person the following characteristics are important to be an effective helper:
1. Know your limitations-you are not a trained therapist. Regardless of whether or not a student confides in you or rejects you as a helper, he/she needs professional help. The campus chain of resources and referrals must be engaged at some point to offer assistance, help and direction. Additionally, you may want, for yourself, to engage this chain of resources/referrals. Dealing with depression and suicide is a draining experience. Don't carry it alone.
2. Know yourself - as a helper, a high degree of comfort and security with yourself is fundamental. You must be continually in touch with yourself and be able to share yourself appropriately with the suicidal person.
-To provide support to satisfy his or her dependency without getting so involved that you lose perspective.
-You must be comfortable with the fact that you probably will not have the answers or be able to solve the problems as they are presented to you.
-Must be able to deal with verbal attack, being told that you are not useful and can not help. You must not become defensive, but remain open and accept an attack as part of the troubled persons anger and sense of hopelessness.
- Your ability to listen attentively, to hear what the person is really saying. Your acceptance of him/her as a person and your ability to provide a safe, non-judgmental atmosphere are essential to building trust and encouraging communication. Many suicidal persons have fears that others will judge them to be crazy or bad because of their suicidal thoughts. They are extremely sensitive to the judgment of others and will quickly disengage from a helper if he/she is judging them negatively
- You must be able to present yourself - your attitude and affect in a calm manner. The inability to do so may, in this already anxiety producing situation, increase the suicidal person’s feelings of isolation, hopelessness and helplessness. It's OK and natural for you to feel tense, fearful, and angry - but you must be able to control such feelings and appear calm/controlled to the troubled person. Verbalizing such feelings to the individual frequently aids in maintaining calmness and control.
As a general rule, the more concrete the plans are in a persons mind, the more seriously you need to take the threat, and when concrete plans are coupled with available means, then the threat is immediate.
Direct, specific questioning in a calm, comfortable manner is necessary to obtain needed information about the plan.
Do not equate the absence of specific plan with the lack of seriousness of intent. Sometimes suicide is not a well thought out process – it can be a spur of the moment decision.
If no plan is evident, don't pursue further discussion of the suicide plan.
Evaluation of suicide plan:
I. Lethality of the Means
High Lethality Methods = High Probability of Immediate Death
Little time for rescue
Jumping from high place
Low Lethality Methods = Time Margin Allowing Rescue
Ingestion of poison
(Including medicine overdose)
Cutting of wrists
Carbon monoxide poisoning
With low lethality, a call for help often occurs - but people die from low lethality methods. Do not equate seriousness of problem with degree of lethality.
2. Availability of means
Ready access of means selected? (Gun? types of medication?)
Plan to acquire means if not readily available?
How much time will it take to obtain means?
Need to assess difficulty of obtaining means. General rule
The more readily available the means, the greater the risk.
3. Specificity of Detail
Have the time and place of suicide been decided?
Suicide note written (or a mental note composed)?
Do plans insure that he/she will not be discovered while undertaking the suicidal act?
Has he/she begun to prepare for death in other ways -paying bills, giving things of value away, cleaning room, things in order.
The more specific the plan, the greater the risk.
EVALUATING SUICIDAL RISK
Not everyone who thinks or talks about suicide will try it
Not everyone who attempts suicide will do so with the intention of dying
Not everyone who thinks or attempts and even succeeds in killing themselves will ever show any signs or signal that this was their intention. For those who do however, an evaluation of their risk is important.
Much of this information will come:
From direct, verbal and non-verbal communication with the individual
From information and perceptions of the significant others (family, friends, roommates) in the individual's life
Suicidal thoughts are difficult to verbalize
Intensely personal thoughts
Fear of judgment, craziness, and sinfulness
Often when ready to talk about it, no one wants to listen
Don't minimize feelings
Do not attempt to joke them out of it
Listen carefully with concern; be prepared to ask for some more information
Summarize reported problems
Reflect feelings (anger, frustration, hopelessness)
Follow up, question about future options:
"What do you see as possibilities for the situation to change?"
"I'm wondering if you've thought at all about suicide?"
"Do you ever feel like killing (hurting) yourself?"
(This indicates futility of situation, or hopelessness)
Why you might feel resistive to using words like suicide or killing yourself.
Fear of introducing a thought toward suicide, extremely rare
Fear of a "yes" response - What if you don't find out? Who else/how else can intervention be made?
Using suicide and killing yourself as terms helps in spelling out reality of feelings. Using euphemisms only helps to skirt, avoid the issue-honest, frankness is necessary to help.
The R.A. role is one of basic crisis intervention, referral, and support as well as informing the resident director.
All referrals are made to the campus counseling office
Follow up any threat of suicide, even jokes. Honest, forthright concern should be expressed
Should suicidal thoughts be expressed, begin exploration of problems; assess suicidal risk - lethality, accessibility and specificity of plan
Attempt a referral to counseling staff/student services staff
Inform Resident Director/ Resident Director on duty
Continued talks, follow up
Accompany to counseling?
Feed additional information to appropriate persons
If you actually come upon a situation in which you know or suspect the individual has taken an overdose of medication (watch for increasing slurring of speech, disassociated ideas, rapidly changing subjects and inappropriate responses) do the following
1. Notify your Resident Director and/or the Resident Director on duty. Do not keep this information to yourself. Contrary to rumors, attempted suicide does not mean automatic dismissal from school. Each student's case is considered individually, and although some students have left school after attempting suicide in order to seek outside assistance, there have been others who have stayed.
2. See if you can ascertain what he/she has taken (make note of amount and type) and the approximate time when he/she took it. If you find empty bottles or prescription vials, collect them and send them to the hospital to provide the doctors with additional information.
3. Any information regarding the illness or hospitalization of a student will be released through the Student Affairs Office.
In our University community, it is vital that there be a smooth, quick, accurate flow of information. A Resident Assistant's first communication link is the Resident Director. The Resident Director communicates with the Assistant Dean of Students. In case you are in doubt whether it is really necessary to relay certain information, some guidelines are listed below about what should be communicated, and some of the reasons why it is important.
An individual student's health problems: The student may need more or better attention, and/or the welfare of other students may be endangered by that student.
An individual student's behavior problems: If a behavior pattern is noted from gathering information on several incidents, new approaches may be taken to dealing with the problem, and the welfare of the individual and other students may be better protected.
An individual's sudden change in mood, study habits, or living style: Sudden changes may be symptoms of underlying problems with which the student may be helped, if the proper persons know about it.
The general mood of the residents: It is helpful to know the general atmosphere of residence hall life. Sometimes when the general mood is one of unhappiness or depression, the cause can be found and the situation can be alleviated, either at the time or for the sake of future residents faced with the same circumstances.
Residents' reactions to changes in policies and regulations: It is helpful to evaluate a policy on the basis of its effectiveness and its impact on students.
Residents' reactions to wing, hall, and Residence Hall Association programs: It is helpful to evaluate past programs when planning new ones.
Damages, vandalism, and/or theft of University, residence hall or personal property: Putting together enough information to identify the sources of the trouble can help to put a stop to such behavior.
Incidents where antagonism or hostility is demonstrated between students: Further, more serious trouble may be avoided if proper steps are taken or if staff members are alert to the possibility of further trouble. One rule of thumb about communicating information to the Resident Director is, when in doubt, stay on the safe side and tell him/her about it. If you feel that it may be too sensitive to bring up in a small staff meeting, talk with the Resident Director privately. Both of you can decide whether and how much to tell the rest of the staff.
A Confrontation may be defined as a deliberate attempt to help another person examine the consequences of some aspect of his/her behavior. It is an invitation to self-examination. A confrontation originates for a desire on the part of the confronter to involve himself/herself more deeply with the person he/she is confronting. Confrontation is a way of expressing concern for another person and a wish to increase the mutual involvement in the relationship.
All RA’s have an obligation as part of their job not only to enforce state, University, and residence life policies, but adhere to them as well.
Reason to Confront:
Someone is violating policy
You notice a change in someone
You are personally upset with someone
Confrontation should be motivated by a desire to improve a situation, not punish someone
Five Steps to Good Confrontation
1. Describe behavior objectively
2. Describe how behavior is effecting the environment
3. Describe how behavior is making you feel
4. Describe what you would like to see happen
5. End with an open invitation to talk
Remember, drunken people may act differently. You may want to wait until they sober up to confront them.
Students will be more likely to comply if they respect you and your RA position. The more interaction you have with your community, the more you will understand them and the more information you have abut them, the easier it will be to confront them.
BE A GOOD ROLE MODEL.
Keep These Basic Confrontation Guidelines in Mind as You Proceed
A. Be simple and direct as you speak, but proceed openly and smoothly. Rushed encounters of any type are usually not conducive to increased awareness.
B. Know the basic facts regarding the behavior you are confronting, but don’t try to come across as an expert.
C. Be specific and clear in your confrontation. You are confronting the person’s problem behaviors, not the person or his/her behavior in general.
D. Confront behaviors, not values. Pushing your values probably will not work. Specify what behaviors are causing others a problem; such as damage, rowdiness, messiness, etc., and specify what behaviors you observe that may be causing the person a problem--such as personal isolation, disciplinary problems, alcohol abuse, etc.
E. Care! At every available opportunity, communicate your interest in the person and ask him/her clarifying questions: How do you view your current behavior? Why are you acting this way?
F. Show your feelings about the confrontation. If you are angry, make sure that your anger is directed at the behavior; not the person. Communicate this distinction to the person. Identify feelings as feelings; facts as facts.
G. Confront behavior in a positive and constructive manner. Show the individual that you are concerned with the positive elements of living together. (Collective responsibility is such an element).
H. Attempt to make the confrontation objective in terms of specific observed behavior. However, be subjective about your interest in the person.
I. Maintain the offensive; don’t let the individual put you on the defensive about your behavior.
J. Stick to the issues. Don’t let the person bring in a lot of outside circumstances, and rationalities.
K. Always avoid “I told you so . . .” type comments in confrontation.
L. Realize and convey that the confrontation need only be an initial contact, and that helpful referral service, time and understanding, can and will follow.
While it is important that you keep these principles in mind, it is even more important that you fit them into your usual style of working with people.
Basically, community development is the process of shaping and/or creating a community environment. This process involves building on and furthering the experiences and needs (academic, emotional, social and physical, etc.) of individuals within a particular community. Community development is necessarily an ongoing process. The needs and goals of a community change as the needs and goals of its individual members change. Hopefully, all members of a group who are involved in community development will individually experience a "sense of community" - a feeling of cooperation within and commitment to the total group. In its broadest sense, everyone who is a part of a group does belong to a community. Every member in some way benefits from the community, but not everyone is necessarily involved in "community development." Thus, some members may tend to take from a community, without wanting to contribute positively to it. Part of your job as a residence hall staff member will be to work with and encourage all individuals to contribute positively to community development.
Prior to Student's Arrival - How are you as a Resident Assistant going to . .
Make sure you have enough energy left for meeting new residents
Plan for the maintenance of support relationships with the rest of staff
First Day - How are you going to . . .
Make a good first impression
Project an attitude that you can be trusted and confidential
Explain your role as a Resident Assistant and the role of the Resident Director
Deal with parents' and students' feelings about room size and condition
Begin to get people involved
First Week - How are you going to . . .
Meet all your residents and learn their names
Identify and offer opportunities for involvement, for freshmen, shy types, etc.
Help people to meet one another
Identify student needs and interests
Encourage students to respect each other's rights of privacy, quiet, security
Promote and support student behavior that is within the guidelines of policies
Deal with alcohol pressures
Inform students about what attending programs can do for them
Schedule in personal times
Use each other on staff to figure out concerns
Give/receive candid feedback on what is working and what is not
First Month and Ongoing - How are you going to …
Encourage residents to feel ownership in/and identify with the floor
Encourage residents to stand up for their rights and responsibilities
Balance your time between studying, your personal needs, and the job
Turn any personal frustrations into constructive alternatives
Source: Creating the Community" workbook from Colorado State University
First Wing Meeting
This outlined information may be helpful to Resident Assistants in organizing their first meeting with residents on their wing. The outline is meant to be a flexible guide. All staff members will have their own ideas and approaches for a presentation of this information and are encouraged to use them. It is suggested you hold a wing meeting for the freshmen during Orientation and an all-wing meeting during the first week of school. You may want to spend more time explaining policies and procedures and answering questions with the all freshmen group.
First Wing Meeting Outline
1. Introduce yourself, home town, position and major, and have students do the same. Students will need to get to know you as a person from the first moment, so be yourself. Saying hello to residents and talking with them daily will be a good way to continue what is begun at the first meeting. Be friendly and positive in your presentation.
2. Inform students of your role as you view it, and as you hope they will see you.
a. Let the students know that one of your primary responsibilities is to try to help them in their personal and academic adjustments to the university and to the residence halls. You are there to help, listen and talk about what they need.
b. You are employed by the university and serve as a representative of the university at all times.
c. You become a disciplinarian only when the hall or wing has failed to take responsibility for regulating itself. It is your main position on discipline to assist the floor in maintaining its own quiet hours, visitation policies, and all other regulations.
d. You are responsible for bringing the educational atmosphere to the wing through programming.
3. Talk about the value of getting involved in Hall Council. Encourage interested students to run for wing representative, SCC senator, or to volunteer for a committee.
a. You may want to invite a member of the Hall Council to speak at the meeting to help you out with this part.
b. Hall Council is the governing body of the building. It is actively involved in planning programs, providing residents with a channel to the Residence Hall Association which in return is responsible for the rules and regulations governing students.
c. Stress the importance of electing people who are interested in representing the interests of your wing and in helping unify the entire building.
4. Explain the location of the following hall facilities and what services are provided.
a. Mailboxes and letter drops (campus and off-campus mail)
b. Laundry room and its facilities (washers and dryers)
c. Lobby and lounge area facilities (ping pong table and other recreation facilities)
d. TV room and other places students may like to know about. Main Desk services
5. Review the regulations, policies, and emergency procedures with which the students need to be familiar. These include room change procedures, quiet hours and consideration hours, alcohol and drug policies, visitation policies.
a. Thoroughly explain the policy on alcohol and drug usage- if you see it, smell it or hear about it, you will have to deal with it.
b. Review and explain the visitation policy so that they understand it is for their safety and protection. Spend some time explaining that the success of visitation policy depends upon mutual respect and cooperation. Remind them that roommates must agree upon times their room will be used for visitation.
c. Suggest that students read the Student Handbook, and remind them that they are responsible for knowing what is in the book.
d. Remind them that we all have to live together and respect the rights and privileges of others. This will mean that students will need to self-discipline and self-regulate their actions while living on your wing.
e. Explain that the reason for these regulations, etc., is to provide a safe, secure, comfortable, orderly environment for students.
f. Let the residents know that you cannot and will not tolerate violations of these regulations. You have accepted the Resident Assistant position to help enforce these policies.
g. Be especially firm in enforcement of all regulations. Don't let anything slip by or you may encounter greater problems later.
6. Organization of residence hall staff
a. A Resident Director is a professional staff member who lives in the building. Explain where his/her office is and when his/her office hours are.
b. Explain your role as a Resident Assistant in your own words, where your room is and that the door is always open to them.
c. Explain that there are Desk Receptionists at the main desks that are also there to help if needed.
d. Mention the Custodial Staff and identify them, especially the one on your floor. They help us by keeping things neat and clean; let us help them by cooperating and cleaning our own messes.