October 13, 2000

Student Assembly Debates Residence Hall Leadership

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The Student Assembly passed a resolution to “promote democratically-elected representation” in all residence hall leadership organizations (RHLOs) at yesterday’s meeting.

The S.A. responded to past fears that residence halls do not elect their representatives but allow the Residence Hall Director and other officials to appoint members of RHLOs, according to Jeffrey Weinberg ’03, president of the Residence Hall Association.

Agriculture and Life Sciences Representative Mike Kalougiannis ’01 billed the resolution as “a partnership between the RHA and the S.A.”

The RHA is an organization through which individuals from every RHLO meet to discuss the concerns of students who live on campus, from smoking in the dorms to the pet policy to the type of toilet paper the bathrooms stock.

“We basically deal with the ins and outs of daily residence hall life,” Weinberg said.

The S.A. spent much of the meeting debating the wording of the resolution. Members argued whether they should recommend democratic RHLOs or withdraw their support for RHLOs that do not go through the election process.

Many members felt that the resolution would “have no bite” if it did not require residence halls to elect their RHLOs. “I want to come out and say that this assembly supports democratic government,” said International Liason at-Large Derrick Zandpour ’02.

Emphasizing the need for mandatory RHLO elections, Lee Rudofski ’01 said, “If [you] think it’s a good idea, it’s your duty to enforce [democratically-elected RHLOs].”

Others argued that there are special cases, such as program housing, in which RHLOs focus on programming and are not governing bodies. In those cases, the houses choose their leaders “based upon whoever has the most time, a voluntary thing,” said LGBTQ Representative at-Large Leslie Barkemeyer ’03, arguing against universal RHLO elections.

Weinberg agreed with Barkemeyer that requiring democratically elected RHLOs was unnecessary. “This is ridiculous,” he said, “that’s just going to piss off the RHLOs … who are doing their thing.”

“Where you should draw the line is telling them how they should structure their government,” said former S.A. President Emanuel Tsourounis II grad.

After a discussion during which members cited the political theories of John Locke and George W. Bush, among others, a majority of members eventually voted only to “promote” and not require democratically-elected hall government.

Archived article by Maggie Frank