The next time you’re in a residence hall on campus I suggest you take a long, hard look at the numerous resident “advisers” the University bankrolls. If you’re anything like me, your reaction should be something along the lines of: “My tuition money goes to these people?”
I place the word advisers in quotation marks because whom do these people actually advise? I certainly never went to my RA to do any soul searching and I have yet to come across anyone who has. If in fact you are one of these people who seek out the infinite wisdom of your hall mentor, your problems probably run a lot deeper than you realize. I would suggest you seriously consider leaving school all together.
RAs aren’t trained to deal with any real problem a resident may have and no amount of sensitivity training – or any of the other courses they take that are supposed to turn 20 year olds into social workers in a matter of days – will make them capable of handling anything more than cleaning up vomit in the bathroom.
Reading over a list of the responsibilities an RA must fulfill to earn his or her rent-free loafing period for an entire school year should make you wonder why the University even bothers posting a job description in the first place. Here are some highlights:
“Implementing social programming and demonstrating consistent availability and accessibility …. Modeling a commitment to multiculturalism … Creating and fostering a community in which all the individuals are respected, while continuing to educate both residents and staff members on issues of social identity.”
Could you imagine a hallway like this? First of all, I wouldn’t want my RA to be available all the time because that would mean I would have to see him. (And let’s face it, the residence hall staff on campus isn’t exactly the group of people I’d like to see on the next Temptation Island.)
Second of all, “RA availability” is University-speak for “Big Brother is watching.” Except in this case Big Brother is not the dominating, Orwellian figure that eyes your every move, it’s a socially challenged junior or senior who never quite made that first friend to share an apartment with sophomore year. He or she is bitter and will take that aggression out on you and your friends after “quiet hours.”
Since we’ve already established that RAs are in no position to dispense therapeutic advice, what’s left for them to do? They can, and often do, patrol the halls looking for people having fun so they can end it promptly. But this basically relegates them to the position of dorm tattle-tale and I hardly see the University justifying paying former high school hall monitors to do this alone.
Instead, the University tacks on a host of fluff duties like promoting multiculturalism and fostering social awareness and call this position an RA. The problem is that no one’s interested in the politically-correct package the school is pushing
So we’re back at hall monitor as a role for RAs now. But remember, we do have something at this university called the Department of Public Safety. They are the only ones with the pseudo-authority to enforce residence hall rules, despite the fear an RA might instill in his or her hallway with the threat of being written up (which doesn’t amount to much).
The University is essentially paying RAs to do part of a DPS officer’s job, and they’re paying people who are utterly inept at doing so. Anyone who thinks RAs are qualified as security guards needs only to look at the bang-up job they’ve done with the recent crime wave in University dorms.
I’ll close with brief pr