After working as a member of residence life for three years, I was shocked by the article most recently published by The Observer concerning under-age drinking on Case’s campus. Maia Delegal’s opinion of responsibilities and duties of resident assistants is horribly misconstrued.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with what it is like on the other side of the incident, allow me to shed some light on the matter. As a resident assistant, my year begins nearly three weeks before your academic year starts. We arrive in early August for two weeks of training during which we cover a wide spectrum of topics ranging from diversity training, to the University’s Residence Life policies, to conflict mediation to successful program planning. Not only do we spend nearly 12 hours a day in training, we are responsible for preparing the floors for the arrival of our residents. This includes room checks as well as crafting door decs and bulletin boards, all in an effort to create a welcoming environment for the new academic year.
While our responsibilities include creating a safe, healthy environment in which our residents can thrive academically, socially, and psychologically, we also are responsible for up-holding the University’s policies. This includes reporting under-age drinking and seeking medical attention for our residents who are in need of it. What you may not realize, our responsibilities to our residents do not end with the phone call to Case EMS. Rather, we follow up with our residents as well as bear the brunt of worried, upset parents who call our supervisor’s in response to their child’s misdeed.
I acknowledge that under-age drinking is a part of college culture and will not disappear anytime in the near future. As far as education is concerned, if you paused for a minute, you might realize your RA most likely will or already has hosted a program targeted to educate their students on alcohol consumption safety. We understand that this is a part of the “college experience” and hold a responsibility to remind our residents and enforce University policy; however, we also work to educate our residents on safety if they choose to drink.
I ask in the future to think before your speak. RAs are not police officers and the last way we want to spend our Saturday night is dealing with an alcohol related incidence, much less an alcohol transport. We spend countless hours training prior to the start of the school year as well as throughout the remainder of the year ensuring we create a safe, welcoming, and healthy environment in which our residents’ live. However, this is not a one-way street. Residents have a responsibility to maintain these qualities as well; this is your home for the academic year as well. While we are available for roommate conflict moderation and helping deal with hygiene concerns on the floor, our duties do not end there. We are not “out to get you.” We just want to ensure you are able to thrive during your time at Case.