ASUAF resolution calls for closer look into Res Life

Elika Roohi/Sun Star Reporter
Nov. 12, 2013

ASUAF is working on a resolution that, if passed, will ask UAF administration to take a closer look into the operations of Residence Life.

Along with the resolution, student government members are trying to gather upwards of 2,000 signatures, according to ASUAF Senator and Psychology student Ashley Strauch. The group is also hoping to collect student testimonies describing their experience with Res Life and Res Life policies. These testimonies should be between 500 and 1,000 words and can be anonymous.

Strauch plans to present the signatures, testimonies and resolution to Chancellor Brian Rogers to prove that there is student interest in examining how Res Life operates. The more evidence ASUAF has, the better, Strauch said.

“Right now we’re just trying to build a line of communication between the students and Res Life,” said ASUAF Senator and Journalism student Brix Hahn, who is also a resident assistant. “I feel like there have been a whole bunch of different issues going on, but no one has been happy with how they were resolved.”

Strauch hopes to have the resolution passed by the end of the semester. Out of this process, ASUAF would like to see several policy changes in Res Life, including more consistent hiring and firing procedures for resident assistance and desk attendants, better customer service for residents facing problems with their living situations and more consistent punishments for actions across the board. Overall, ASUAF is looking to introduce more transparency into Res Life’s operations. According to ASUAF President Ayla O’Scannell, the student government isn’t asking to change Res Life’s rules, but to look at how those rules are applied. There are a lot of inconsistencies, O’Scannell said.

“It’s come to a point where we feel like we need to do something about it,” Strauch said.

The resolution asks for administration to create a third-party committee that would look at the way Res Life operates. Strauch wasn’t sure who will be on the committee, but she said it would probably consist of students, staff and faculty.

ASUAF has collected almost 600 signatures, according to Strauch.

Res Life Director Laura McCollough said she was somewhat perplexed by the resolution. “I couldn’t really understand what the problem was,” McCollough said. ASUAF can go to Res Life directly, or they can create a petition and pass a resolution to get their point across, McCollough said.

ASUAF started working on the petition several weeks ago, when three Cutler RAs were asked to resign after being present at a party in mid-September where there was underage drinking. The way Res Life handled the incident was the catalyst that made ASUAF finally sit up and pay attention to inconsistencies with Res Life policies, O’Scannell said. Strauch said she had been wanting to tackle this issue for a while, and would have done so whether or not the incident had happened.

Both Strauch and O’Scannell were present at the party in question, and are facing punishments from Res Life. Both are over-age, and neither provided alcohol at the party.

Over the last several years, Strauch and O’Scannell have heard many complaints about the way Res Life operates, and just want to get the ball rolling on representing student’s voices on the issue.

“I’d really like to see students be happier with their living situation,” Hahn said. “It’s where they spend the majority of their time.”

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5 Responses

  1. Josie says:

    Try chatting with former professional staff…. blow. the. lid. off.

  2. Bob says:

    So 2 people got in trouble with reslife, and now those same 2 people are trying to start a movement against reslife. Interesting timing….

  3. anonymous says:

    Is this really a thing that’s happening on campus?

    Sounds to me like a few students got caught doing something they knew they weren’t suppose to be doing and are making a big stink about it. Furthermore, sounds like a personal problem and not an issue they should be using student government funds and resources to address.

    As a former resident I can tell you that if you are a resident, you know the rules in regards to drinking in a room with a minor present. Even if you don’t live on campus, if you have ever attended a party in the dorms, you know the rule. This isn’t a new rule that was recently implemented. Drinking in the presence of a ‘minor’ happens fairly frequently, and everyone takes one of the following 2 approaches: you either kick the ‘minor’ out, or you all assume the risk. If you are going with the second approach, you need to suck it up and deal with the consequences.

    I also question what they mean by “transparency.” Whatever reason/event that lead to the RAs resigning is no one’s business and is confidential information. Even if they were asked to resign after the party incident, sounds to me like Res Life took the right approach. It is the RAs’ responsibility to enforce Res Life policies. How effective are they going to be if they themselves can’t follow the rules. I personally would have a lot more problem with Res Life employing students that break their own policy while punishing all other residents. In addition, how each ‘case’ is address should also stay confidential between the resident and Res Life. Every time a student makes a mistake, whether it is related to drinking or any other policy set by Res Life, it shouldn’t get broadcast to the campus community. We all make mistakes and we all deserve some privacy.

    Sure Res Life may have some problems and may need their policies reviewed, but the reasons given in this case is childish. I sure hope the administrators of this campus aren’t going to waste their time on this.

  4. bro says:

    I’ve worked for reslife- There is definitely a lack of consistency in regards to upholding the rules and even their application. Reslife takes shit care of their RAs and residents alike, and should be looked at from a third party to implement some sort of positive change

  5. Anonymous says:

    Can’t help but feel like the action ASUAF is taking against ResLife is fueled by some of their members’ recent discrepancies concerning the Cutler party. Honestly, I would have more respect for the cause if there was less apparent self-interest motivating it. Also, bringing transparency to the organization will be difficult seeing that there’s the issue of confidentiality and FERPA.

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