Resident assistants no longer have private dorm luxury

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Kelly Stiles

Sturgis hall no longer houses resident advisors in private dorm rooms.

Some resident assistants (RA) no longer have private rooms, a privilege commonly associated with the position.

 

Why should an RA have a private room? Other than causing the position to be attractive to college students who normally have to share a dorm, private rooms allow RAs to have a space to talk with building residents in a confidential setting. Students have concerns about their RA having a roommate.

 

Roommates of resident advisers do not have to follow confidentiality rules like the RAs do– they do not sign the RA employment contract. What is to stop an RA’s roommate from telling their friends what they overhead?

 

Another concern is that RAs are often woken up at all hours of the night. Especially if they are on call that evening, the roommate could be woken up by the noise. The dorm mate is not being paid to suffer these consequences.

 

Also, there might be a conflict of interest with the RA having a roommate. The RA may play favorites or treat their roommate differently than the rest of the floor. That would be unfair to the other students in the building.

 

The roommate may feel that they must be overly cautious in ways they may not otherwise have to be, since they are living with someone who has power over them. There are so many ways these things could go wrong for all involved parties.

 

However, there is another side to this. RAs do not necessarily need private rooms. Other students on campus may require the private rooms for medical reasons.

 

Mykiah Overstreet, a junior psychology major and RA on the second floor of Sturgis Hall, has held this position for three semesters.

 

She does not have a private room, and although she knows they had them in the past, she supports the housing department’s decision. Housing made changes so that more disability rooms are available.

 

“So, besides Smith and Newberry, I think that not having a private room and sharing a suite is a good idea and it gives more availability to other students,” said Overstreet. “Also, I really like sharing a suite with others because it’s fun and a lot less lonely.”

 

Having a suite instead of an unconnected room also helps to eliminate some of the concerns mentioned before. The RA is better able to find a private place to talk in a suite with multiple rooms.

 

It is also less likely for suite-mates to be woken up if the RA has something happening in the middle of the night. It does nothing to prevent favoritism, but that is an issue that could be reported to the housing department for a solution.

 

The issues with RAs having roommates are genuine. However, so is the need for those private rooms to be available to the students who need privacy for disability reasons.