Micah Wilkins, Staff Writer (mwilkins@wwc)
A number of resident assistants on campus have decided to throw in the towel after this semester due to an increase in position responsibilities.
Approximately four RAs and one RD are quitting. One RA has already quit. Every RA in the Village will be quitting before the start next semester.
A former Village RA, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Echo that they quit a week after Fall Break because balancing academics, work and RA duties proved to be extremely challenging.
“I thought, being an RA, that everything would be good,” the source said. “As I proceeded on throughout the semester, though, I was like, ‘I really can’t do this,’ because I didn’t have enough time for other stuff. My RA duties were trapping me and isolating me from the other world.”
Wellness RA and junior Jill Metcalfe is having similar sentiments.
“I personally am having trouble managing school work and things like that,” Metcalfe said. “It’s just a time management thing.”
The RAs’ lack of free time may be, in part, a result of the new Residence Life system that was put in place this semester, according to the former Village RA. This new system brought about four area coordinators who were hired to supervise the RAs and RDs in their designated area. Furthermore, according to Katie Buehner, AC for Sunderland and Vining, ACs are supposed to “provide more support for the students and our student workers.”
However, as some RAs are experiencing stress with an overwhelming amount of time on duty, there may be some flaws in the current AC system.
“With any new system, there are some kinks that need to be worked out,” Metcalfe said.
While the former Village RA recognizes that the individuals in AC positions are not the problems, the system that is in place may be the issue. Now, the power is out of the hands of RAs and RDs, and in the hands of ACs.
“Area coordinators, some of them do work and do their job but some of them don’t reply to the Res Life staff,” the Village RA said. “When we need help, we turn to the RA, who turns to the AC and sometimes the area coordinator does nothing. They don’t always do nothing, but when they do something it goes unrecognized.”
According to Metcalfe, the position and the responsibilities of area coordinators is somewhat ambiguous and unclear.
“They all kind of do things differently but they are operating under the same guidelines,” Metcalfe said. “Every area does duty differently, and that’s one of the things that needs to be looked at.”
According to Metcalfe, there are two definitions of what an AC does and what they should be responsible for. One is that, as Buehner suggests, the AC is supposed to act as “an extra support system for [RAs and RDs].” The second definition is more of an administrative and hierarchical position, “which adds a strange element to the relationship [between an RA and an AC],” said Metcalfe.
In response to the increase in time on duty for RAs in Dorland, the AC for Sage Circle Margot Jebb is planning to hire an RA for a fourth position in Dorland. According to Jebb, this decision was made in response to requests from her current staff.
“I am glad that we have it in the budget to add another person in the building to increase community building and share duty requirements,” Jebb said.
Jebb is optimistic that, with teamwork, the flaws in the AC system can be worked out between the residence staff.
“My whole staff has been incredibly supportive of each other as the AC position evolves and we work out our kinks in our residence life system,” Jebb said.