Living on campus is a privilege that many students look forward to. Year after year students flood into the dormitories, unpack, get themselves acquainted with the facilities and befriend their Resident/Program Assistant.
But how many students know just how the RA’s and PA’s are selected? What qualifies these people that we are supposed to share our inner most housing secrets with? In a larger sense, who is qualified campus for housing? Who does the University of La Verne’s housing exclude or include?
On our journey to discover the secret workings of housing and residential life, we have found a few unsettling things, which we hope the the staff will address in the near future.
This year there are three – count them, three – head RA’s. According to admissions, housing and residential life, the University of La Verne does not have graduate housing. However, an RA from last year, who graduated in May, is back and living on campus as one of the head RA’s.
Let’s review: a graduated head RA, not enrolled in school at ULV and living on campus for free.
Veronica Ramirez, the program coordinator for the housing and residential life department, informed the Campus Times that the job description for the position of head RA clearly states that the position is not limited to ULV students. It is a position that can be filled by someone that either has past experience at ULV or another institution as an RA, and can be graduated. The problem with this is that is takes away the opportunity from traditional undergraduate students.
The RA/PAs receive free room and board for the year they are working in the dorms. It is a method that some students use to defray the cost of living on campus, which this year is nearly $4,000 a semester for some students.
People live on campus for several reasons. It is convenient for those with hectic schedules, and it is a fun, social atmosphere where you can live with a few hundred of your closest friends.
Having a head RA who is not affiliated in the academic sense with this institution takes away from the those who are still enrolled here. It takes away from students who want the chance to be an RA, and it takes away a room, which the RA receives as a single, that two students at the Sheraton, for example, could inhabit.
The real question is was this decision to hire this person as the head RA a decision that was thought about, or was it a decision that was based on past performance and favoritism? It looks bad for the housing and residential life program when its leaders make decisions like this that affect the rest of the students who are paying to live on campus, even if it is only one room.
Doesn’t the Guide to Housing and Residential Life state that an RA is supposed to be a “peer-level advisor, informal counselor, program facilitator, disciplinarian and friend?” Isn’t the peer-level different if they are graduated?
Additionally, we found that RA’s did not have to have any prior on-campus experience. Why is living on campus prior to receiving the job as an RA, not a requirement for the selection process? Wouldn’t it make sense for the RA to have had some sort of dormitory experience before taking on the responsibility of policing the dorms?
When the cost of housing and residential life is so steep, and the RA/PA’s receive free room and board as incentive, why doesn’t financial need of those applying for the position come into account? With the growing popularity of being an RA/PA, many students who are qualified are being turned away.
There are students who perhaps need the free room and board for financial reasons. College is expensive, and some students struggle to pay for it. It seems that those who really need these positions are those who would be more likely to take their position seriously and perhaps do a better job than those who take the privilege for granted.
These suggestions are not taken personally to anyone in the housing staff. They are meant to be mere suggestions that will hopefully be considered and perhaps implemented in the future.