Letter to the Editor: Resident Assistants do far more than just ‘show up’

Prior to winter break, an article and an editorial in The Northeastern News was written about the Department of Residence Life portraying it in a very negative light (“Resident Assistants upset over contract changes,” Dec. 7, and “Contract RAnts,” Dec. 7). Both the article and the editorial incorrectly reported major parts of the story, making it very biased and unfair.

The department has been undergoing changes to better serve the students and the Northeastern community. As with all changes, there is no decision that will be unanimously accepted; compromise is necessary in order to resolve issues. The most recent change, requiring RAs to attend roll call at the Resident Safety Office, (not, as was reported, to the Resident Director on Columbus Avenue) was made in an effort to cut down the number of RAs missing shifts as well as to hold them to the same standards as hired proctors. This decision was made in conjunction with the decision to allow RAs to work only two overnight shifts rather than four during the spring semester.

The article also stated that RAs were not allowed by the department to speak with the media. This is untrue. RAs are allowed to speak to the media; they are asked to do so, however, as students, rather than as RAs, as their opinions are not necessarily those of the department or the rest of the staff.

Finally, a statement was made in the editorial that in return for their compensation of room and board, all RAs do is “show up” for their jobs. This is completely untrue and insulting to those of us who do work in the department. Anyone who has worked for ResLife will tell you our job requires that we do far more than just “show up” – among other responsibilities, RAs must be prepared to handle emergency situations, enforce policies fairly and bring innovative programming to students with a variety of interests and backgrounds. Being an RA is not easy or simple – it requires individuals who care about the students they work with. It requires long hours on the job, stress and worry, and can be one of the most rewarding positions at any university.

ResLife will continue to undergo change throughout time, and the Senior RAs ask that The Northeastern News remain accurate and unbiased when it chooses to cover an issue involving ResLife.

– Sarah Sargent and April Pierce are junior biology majors.

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