up Thoughts on Behavior and the RA Job: Its a lot About Role Modeling
ago we published an article entitled, Quick
Reflections on Behavior and the RA Job. We also queried some folks
on their reflections on the article, and any other thoughts on this topic
that they might have. We heard from a few folks, and wanted to pass those
thoughts on to you. Not surprisingly, the majority of the comments we
received relate one way or another to the very important topic of role
I want to
pass this information on to you
the Impact An RA Has On Students
Assistant who wrote in commented on the relevance of the article to his
particular university, citing the fact that behavior problems with RAs
on his campus have been a problem, and that some fellow RAs on his staff
had been released from their positions due to certain decisions that they
sound familiar to any of you?
on to comment that not all RAs realize the kind of impact that they have
on students, because after a bad decision by an RA the fact remains that
in most instances students look to RAs as a kind of example. He went on
to state that the simple solution is that RAs realize this and exemplify
positive decisions and choices all of the time.
Thoughts on Partying and the RA Job
RA wrote in with her opinions on partying and the RA job. In her e-mail,
she had the following to say
I took the job as a RA I knew that I would be taking a position of high
responsibility. Whenever residents, even former residents see you, you
will always be a RA to them. Around the campus you are known as a RA,
not just any other student. Therefore, to be the best RA you can be, you
must hold yourself to a higher standard at all times, even when you aren't
in the residence halls or on campus.
an RA is a life style choice, and you do not want to be viewed as hypocritical.
Even if you are of age, drinking in the presence of current residents
is never a good idea, because at the end of the night you will be returning
to the halls after you have consumed alcohol. The most sensitive residents
will view this action as being hypocritical. Although this might be ridiculous,
it is easier for you to avoid the situation. As an RA who is of legal
drinking age, when I go out to party with my friends I am not looking
to hang out with my residents. It is very typical to encounter residents
at party situations. If and when residents show up, I leave and go somewhere
bottom line is that you need to be careful in all situations so you are
not viewed as being hypocritical.
thoughts from another RA
you would definitely be the better role model if you did not participate
in any underage drinking around your campus. Use your time instead to
educate your residents on the potential dangers of alcohol use and provide
alternate activities for those residents of yours who are not drinkers.
Additionally, if you are 21 or over I still suggest you do not drink with
your residents who are also of age. I have found that this practice is
What About the Question of Going to Parties but Not Drinking?
RA wrote in to the site with a question about RAs going to parties and
not drinking. The RA wrote:
this article you covered partying. In this segment, things were said about
us as RA's going to parties and engaging in underage drinking but little
if anything was made clear about RA's going to parties where we were not
drinking. While we are still faced with the dilemma of what to do about
those are us who are drinking, might it better to be setting a good example
by not drinking and looking out for the safety of our fellow students?
professional in the field had the following advice and thoughts on this
own belief is that RAs need to remember that the issue of role modeling
is constant and never ending.
light of that, a perception might be that if a resident is present whether
the RA is drinking alcohol or not they are condoning the behavior of those
who may be breaking the law and I would suggest that RAs not put themselves
in that situation.
the other students may not have the ability to have perspective and see
that the RA is not drinking, though they may be speaking with some one
who has overindulged, their cup may not be see through and people THINK
that they are drinking etc. Why put your credibility to the test like
It Comes to Partying You Need to Know Your Departmental Policy
RA wrote in with the following to say about this particular topic:
my university, it is very serious if you go out and party and drink underage
on or off campus because there is the potential that your residents may
be there very understandably this is a serious problem on our campus
need to carefully understand your departments position on the issue
of partying as an RA if you are of the legal age to consume. Some responsible
people who are RAs make the choice to go to parties to have fun and not
to drink. The fact remains however that when word gets out that they were
at the party, their job is potentially in jeopardy.
is certainly possible to go out to a party with friends and display exemplary
behavior and NOT drink and still have a good time
but whether this
is O.K. or not depends on your departments policy. So my best advice
is to know what your doing before you make a decision that could cause
you to lose your job.
Thoughts on Role Modeling:
As an RA
you are a role model
all the time
whether you like it or not.
You also face many challenging ethical decisions along the course of balancing
your personal needs with the needs of the job.
In the next
ethical decision that you face as a role model, consider the following
passage from a speech at Wells College by former Vice Presidential candidate
from Gerradine Ferraro is from the May 31, 1989 edition of the Chronicle
of Higher Education, p. B-5
Special thanks to all the individuals who passed on their thoughts and comments for this follow-up article.