September 25, 2003

R.A.s Fill Job Vacancies

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Over 100 students on North Campus are still without residential advisors (R.A.s) following their dismissal several weeks ago. Five R.A.s from Court Hall and an additional R.A. from Mary Donlon Hall were all dismissed on Sept. 4.

According to students on the floor, the incident on Aug. 29 involved a room party hosted by one of the R.A.s from Court Hall. Present were other R.A.s from Court and Donlon Halls and several other unidentified students. At approximately 1 a.m., one student showed symptoms of alcohol poisoning. The host of the party proceeded to call emergency services which arrived and took the sick student away.

“This is a case of medical amnesty,” said one of the R.A.s to resident onlookers as the sick student received assistance from the medical personnel and officers from the Cornell University Police Department.

The R.A.s were removed the following week by Campus Life administrators. None of the students involved, however, were referred to the Judicial Administrator.

When residents of the affected halls were asked about the dismissal of their R.A.s, several showed dismay that they had not been notified of the dismissals.

“I understand it was a serious infraction but I think they should have been upfront about it,” said Mike Nudelman ’07. “We were the ones most affected by the decision, not that we expected to have a say in the decision, but we should have been informed of it in an official manner.”

Raquel Grazi ’07, another resident, felt the directors of the hall were being insensitive to the situation, “they act like nothing has happened and like we don’t have a connection with our R.A.”

Some students expressed surprise at the dismissal.

“The purpose of having a medical amnesty policy is so that you don’t feel bad about calling. If the same situation happens again there is no reason for a R.A. to call, so it makes the policy worthless,” Grazi said.

“The R.A. showed responsibility in an emergency, they would have done the same for us, and if they were still here I would feel more comfortable on the floor,” said another resident, Greg Clother ’07.

With R.A.s gone, remaining students have had to increase their rounds. According to Beth O’Neill, the student staff selection and training administrator, Court Hall has redistributed its coverage by having 2 R.A.s per floor while in Donlon, the affected floor has one R.A. working.

O’Neill emphasized that there were no unsupervised students but just some students who have no full-time R.A.

Court R.A. E.J. Mack ’06 has not felt overworked and has not seen any general trend in a difference between halls with R.A.s and halls without, he said.

Stacy Deery, Court’s residence hall director said “it’s hard to separate what problems are correlated to this event and normal complaints.” She mentioned that there have been several standard complaints she gets everyday most having to do with quiet hour violations.

“It’s really been fine, we haven’t changed our behavior one bit,” said Michael Ladd ’07. However, Don King of the Campus Life management office, emphasized the need for residential advisors both for hall supervision and for planning of hall events.

“Our intention is to fill these positions as quickly as we can,” King said. According to King, the process of finding replacements is difficult because the hiring process occurred last January and February. Qualified applicants who did not receive appointments last year are now being considered to fill the staffing vacancies, according to King.

“The difficulty is that many of them are already settled,” King said. He added that those living in on-campus housing would be easier to move than those living off-campus.

Two new R.A.s have already been appointed, one of which has already moved into Court. King was unclear as to when the other vacancies would be filled.

“The new R.A.s move onto the floor at their pace,” O’Neill said.

The training process for the replacement R.A.s will be different due to the fact that they are moving in after their hall residents, O’Neill said. This process will include hands on training from resident hall directors, other R.A.s and other Campus Life professionals.

“It’s a difficult situation to come into because the hall already has a relationship with everyone,” Ladd said in reference to his new R.A.

Deery also remarked that she was upset at the “loss of team members.”

Archived article by Ted Van Loan