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.”