On Monday, I was terminated from my position as a Mary Markley Resident Advisor.
The reason for my termination is as follows: I lent my master key to one of my residents so that he could let himself into his room after he locked himself out. When he knocked at my door, I was asleep, trying to get some rest for a trip the next morning to Indianapolis to photograph the Big Ten Tournament. I gave him the key and told him that I would call DPS in ten minutes if he didn’t return.
Unfortunately, this resident was a bit confused, so he was shaking the kiosk where the keys are activated, trying to get the card out of the machine when a DPS officer walked by. The DPS officer, of course, asked what he was doing, and the resident honestly told him that he had his RA’s duty key and pin number. I got another knock on my door, and the officer returned my key.
The next day, 17 minutes before I had to hurry down to the court to take photos of the Michigan basketball game, a letter popped into my inbox telling me that I needed to meet immediately with the Markley Leadership Team.
The meeting wasn’t until Monday, so I had the entire weekend to slowly melt down and feel like an idiot for what I had done. Let me now take ownership for this mistake: The lapse in judgment was wholly and completely mine. I made a mistake – flat out – and I cannot honestly blame it on anyone but myself. This mistake could have had drastic consequences. The entirety of the residence hall could have been at risk.
Like all of us do, I spent my time before the meeting on Monday planning out exactly what I wanted to say.
On the surface, the rule which I broke is very straightforward: If I lend out my masterkey to any non-staff member for any reason, the Markley Leadership Team has grounds to fire me. I have been assured by the Housing administration that they take every termination on a case-by-case basis. The Markley LT were right to take action, but what I needed to ask for was a second chance.
My actions, though negligent, had honest intentions. And as I thought about intent, the phrase, “The road to hell is paved by good intentions,” kept coming to mind. Something always bothered me about that phrase and the way that it disregarded intent. I realized that another way of saying the phrase is, “The road to hell is paved by the hopes and dreams of mankind,” and I can’t bring myself to believe this. Intentions do matter, humans do make mistakes, penance can absolve sin, we are more than just a recollection of our last mistake, and everyone deserves grace.
When I got back into town, seeing my hall, 4th Elliott, helped me to remember my semester as an RA. As a Markley RA, I have traveled with my residents to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to go dogsledding and cross country skiing. I took one of my residents to Detroit to cheer him up after a bad day. I’ve designed and purchased 100 Markley t-shirts (which are now sitting in my room). I’ve