Office of Residence Life
Resident Assistant Manual
“Performance beyond Expectations”
Table of Contents
Welcome to Residence Life!
Mission of Residence Life………………………………………………………………………….…4
Goals of Residence Life…………………………………………………………………………….….4
Residence Life Administrative Structure…………………………………………………….5
Residence Life Staff……………………………………………………………………………………...6
RA Responsibilities and Duties
Residence Life Committees………………………………………………………………………..10
Code of Ethics and Expectations………………………………………………………………...11
The RA Universe………………………………………………………………………………………….14
Time Management and You………………………………………………………………………..15
Building your Community
Roommate Conflict and Mediation…………………………………………………………..30
Administrative Duties and Tasks
Opening and Closing Procedures………………………………………………………………33
Room Condition Inventory Forms……………………………………………..……………..36
Maintenance and Work Orders………………………………………………………………….39
On-Duty Responsibilities and Judicial Affairs
RA On-Duty ………………………………………………………………………………………………..40
SRD / RD On-call…………………………………………………………………………………………41
Why do we Document?................................................................................44
Policies and Procedures
Drugs and Illegal Substances……………………………………………………………………..51
Mental Health Issues
Death of a Student
MISSION OF RESIDENCE LIFE
The mission of the Office of Residence Life is to encourage the
educational and personal growth of all students. This is accomplished by
facilitating residential communities that support both curricula and co-
curricula experiences. Students have an opportunity to live in a diverse, fun
and safe living-learning environment. Activities and opportunities within the
residence halls are provided to stimulate intrapersonal and interpersonal
development and growth. The Office of Residence Life at Keystone College
strives to create a student-centered community to enhance their college
Achieving the Mission…
In order to achieve the mission, the Residence Life Staff at Keystone
College will focus on of a series of goals and objectives designed to
stimulate the student population.
GOALS OF RESIDENCE LIFE
1. Enhance the academic environment in the residence halls through
programming efforts and the development of living / learning
2. Provide students opportunities for personal growth through
embracing diversity, spiritual connections, self reflection and
3. Provide students a pleasant and home-like atmosphere to reside
through reviewing current housing trends and obtaining student
feedback to improve facilities.
4. Retaining resident students through superior dedication and
services to the students.
5. Developing student awareness to create responsible, well educated
and contributing members of society.
RESIDENCE LIFE ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE
Dr. Robert Perkins
Dean of Students
Ken Lastowka Nicole Winkler
Senior Resident Director Senior Resident Director
Leslie Frishberg Lori King
Resident Director Resident Director
Senior Resident Assistants Resident Assistants
2nd floor Sickler Hall
Offices 201 and 203
One College Green
(across the street from Davis, behind Tewksbury)
Hours of Operation:
Monday – Friday 8:30am – 5:00pm (normal academic year)
Monday – Friday 8:00am – 4:00pm (summer hours)
(570)945-8271 or (570)945-8274
RESIDENCE LIFE STAFF
Dr. Robert Perkins, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Cell Phone: (570)351-5271
Sharon Clark, Senior Director of Student Support Services and Residence Life
Cell Phone: (570)840-9318
Ken Lastowka, Senior Resident Director – Coordinator of Operations
Phone: x8271 (Main Office)
x4013 (Frear-Reynolds Office)
Cell Phone: (570)840-0807
Nicole Winkler, Senior Resident Director – Coordinator of Housing
Phone: x8274 (Housing Office)
Cell Phone: (570)840-9103
Leslie Frishberg, Resident Director
Phone: x8271 / x8272 (Main Office)
x8860 (Moffat Office)
Lori King, Resident Director
Phone: x8271 / 8272 (Main Office)
X8279 (Tewksbury Office)
Davis Hall Keystone Commons
Erika Saxton 201 x8716 William Lancenese 112 x8064
Shay Neary 217 x8082
Mike Evans 106 x8675 Moffat Hall
TBA 306 x8689 Brackney Brotzman 106 x8710
Melissa Carestia 217 x8813 Ben Austin 118 x8728
Sean Frazier 317 x8800 Lucas Taylor 306 x8740
Aliah Roseman 318 x8739
Denise Gans-Torruellas 305 x8606 Tewksbury Hall
Kurtis Beaver 305 x8621
RESIDENT ASSISTANT POSITION DESCRIPTION
Keystone College - Office of Residence Life 2009-2010
Resident Assistants (RA’s) are full-time undergraduate students who live, interact and
learn with their peers in a residential community as members of the Residence Life Staff.
Resident Assistants are chosen on the basis of excellent leadership, strong interpersonal
skills, responsibility, the ability to reach out to students and to further the growth of their
own personal development. The goal of a RA is to help stimulate personal and academic
growth and to develop a strong community within the residence halls.
RA’s are expected to:
1. Assume RA duties on Sunday, August 16th, 2009 and ending no earlier than
Saturday, May 15th 2010.
2. Support the goals and expectations of the Office of Residence Life through the
mission statement and carry out their job duties accordingly.
3. Be available and visible to residents and fellow staff members.
4. Maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher at time of application and through the
5. Follow the policies as outlined in the Student Information Guide, Resident
Assistant handbook and the Housing Contract.
6. Function as a positive role model at all times and abide by the ethical standards
set forth for this position.
7. Demonstrate a high level of maturity, sound judgment, emotional stability and
RA’s are required to perform a wide variety of tasks which include five major areas of
1. Aids new students in their orientation to residence life and to the college
environment, acquainting themselves with the residents and their interests
2. Is approachable and available to students, providing guidance in the challenges
of interpersonal relationships, and maintains a relationship with residents based
on trust and confidentiality.
3. Observes individual behavior and responds accordingly to issues such as health
concerns, academic success, individual differences, seclusion/depression, as well
as time and stress management.
4. Observes group behavior and responds accordingly to roommate situations,
respect for individual differences, and acclimation to community style living.
5. Notifies the proper sources when assisting in a counseling situation.
6. Serve as a liaison between the students, the Office of Residence Life and other
Student Development / Programming
1. Actively develops educational, social, spiritual, recreational, emotional, and
cultural programs both on your floor and throughout the building. RA’s should
evaluate student needs as a whole, in order to effectively plan, initiate, advise, and
participate in programs, as well as those of Interhall Council.
2. Participates in office and staff sponsored activities and programs as requested.
3. Completes all programming requirements as outlined by the Office of Residence
4. Uses campus resources (Student Activities, Health Services, Multicultural Affairs
etc.) in planning programs.
1. Attends, as required, all pre and In-service training sessions and other scheduled
staff meetings and workshops. There will be a weekly staff meeting as well as in-
services on a monthly basis.
2. Is familiar with all forms, policies, procedures, and the staff manual.
3. Aids the Office of Residence Life and all RD’s, regardless of assigned buildings,
with delegated administrative work such as room inventory/inspection, hall
openings and closings, and maintenance requests.
4. Contributes to effective lines of communication with other RA’s, the RD’s, and the
Office of Residence Life.
5. Assumes responsibility for hall supervision and residence community
safety/security, particularly on scheduled duty nights.
6. Takes responsibility for helping to maintain safe, clean, and comfortable living
7. Checks mail, voice mail and email on a daily basis to keep up to date on all
8. Conducts floor meetings on a regular basis to inform students of pertinent
9. Completes all training and staff development requirements as outlined by the
Office of Residence Life.
10. Participates and contributes to a Residence Life Committee
11. Each RA must complete all programming requirements as outlined in the
programming section of this manual.
12. Each staff member must work with their RD to make sure he/she fulfills their
programming requirements during the semester.
13. Each RA will be on duty once a week from 8 PM to 8 AM as well as weekends on a
14. Each RA will do rounds through the residence halls during their duty night.
During the week, three rounds will be done between 8 PM and 2 AM. During the
weekend four rounds will be done between 8 PM and 2 AM.
15. When doing rounds, the RA must document any incidents and suspicious
activities into the RA duty log.
16. While on duty, if leaving his/her room or the hall office, the RA should leave a
note indicating where he/she can be contacted or inform the RD on-call. The RA is
expected to be accessible at all times while on duty.
Discipline and Leadership
1. Knows and follows the rules, regulations, and policies of the Office of
Residence Life and the College.
2. Helps students to understand the rules, regulations and policies and applies
them to their own actions.
3. Helps develop and maintain an atmosphere conducive to academic
4. Handles disciplinary situations as they arise.
5. Confronts all policy violations .
6. Knows and uses forms related to disciplinary actions.
7. Knows when to refer disciplinary cases.
8. Resolves conflict situations as they arise. Mediates roommate conflicts and
reports all incidents to the Resident Director.
9. Each RA will follow the proper chain of command when reporting situations in
the residence hall, and will be responsible for handling most incidents unless a
Resident Director or Campus Safety is needed.
Source of Information
1. Knows campus resources to which students may be referred for personal,
academic, or social concerns
a. Is familiar with staff, location, and the extent of services available within
the various offices
b. understands appropriate procedures of referrals
2. Relays information from the Office of Residence Life and other offices concerning
activities and programs.
3. Knows the student code of conduct described within the Student Information
Guide, and the sanctions imposed for violations of the code.
4. Understands the Judicial system and can explain it to the students should
the need arise.
RESIDENCE LIFE COMMITTEES
Each RD chairs a committee.
Each committee consists of a RD and 2-3 RA’s
Each committee meets at least once a month to discuss issues and ideas
Committee ideas and goals would then be presented at Res Life all staff meetings
Every RA must sit on one committee
Training, Selection and Development: includes planning year round training,
continued training workshops, fall/spring training, staff development events, RA
interviewing and selection
Entertainment and Recognition: includes birthday banners, cards, banquets,
RA and housekeeping appreciation weeks, staff socials, trips and department
events, Residence Life documentation-pictures
Housing, Facilities and Operations: includes focus groups on new housing
plans, room selection processes, safety and security measures, food service
contract review, technology advancements, etc.
Go Green Initiative: includes working with facilities, the college and
students to help further the mission of the college to use more renewal
energy, environmentally safe products and make the residence halls a leader
among campus green initiatives
The purpose of the committees is to strengthen Residence Life at Keystone
College, providing RA input and ideas, helping to create a better residential environment
on campus and helping to foster a better working relationship between the Residence Life
staff and the campus community.
CODE OF ETHICS AND EXPECTATIONS
I recognize and understand that this statement provides set standards and
expectations to help guide my personal and work related behavior as a member of the
Residence Life team at Keystone College. I hereby commit to maintain my own integrity,
the integrity of the RA/SRA position and the integrity as a representative of Keystone
College by abiding by the ethical standards below. I realize that if I fail to uphold these
standards, it may result in consequences regarding my position as a RA/SRA.
Responsibility to Students:
1. I will treat students with respect and dignity. I will help to assist students in
becoming better students and responsible members of the campus community.
2. I understand that students will look to me as a role model as my life will be in “the
fishbowl.” I will do my best to keep an open mind, remain positive and encourage
diversity. I will model positive behaviors, treat all students fairly and show and
3. I will fulfill all of my RA obligations consistently to the best of my ability and in a
manner that will bring forth respect from residents, parents, peers, and anyone
else I may come into contact with.
Responsibility for Personal Growth:
4. I will perform the function of my position consistently and take responsibility for
my actions. I will know my limits and acknowledge and attempt to improve upon
5. I will take responsibility for my actions. I will know my limits and will
acknowledge and attempt to improve upon my weaknesses.
6. I will offer and accept constructive criticism in a positive manner as to better
myself, the staff and the department. I will avoid being negative and destructive
unless I am prepared to put something greater in its place.
7. I will place great value on my own name, my job and my reputation.
8. I will make the most of the opportunities presented to me by the position,
approach the position with an open mind and learn from the experiences.
Responsibility to your fellow Staff:
9. I will work as a team member, maintain open communication with other staff,
confront and/or report any misconduct amongst staff members, be dependable
and be part of the staff support system.
10. I will be consistent, respectful, and supportive of other staff members. I will treat others
as I wish to be treated. I will not undermine the authority of other staff in the presence of
Responsibility to the Office of Residence Life:
11. I will be supportive of both my position and my department. I understand that if I
act in an unethical or inappropriate manner, it not only undermines my credibility,
but also each and every member of the Residence Life Staff.
12. I will be truthful in my interactions with peers, supervisors and representatives
from other departments of the college.
13. I will remain constant to the policies as stated in the Student Information Guide
and in the Resident Assistant manual.
Responsibility to Keystone College:
14. I will help to promote a positive imagine of the College and encourage school
15. I will assist in engaging the students in campus life through encouragement of
participating in campus activities, student leadership opportunities and
campus/community volunteer efforts.
We ask you to serve in your position with a clear conscience and a driving desire to
perform beyond your expectations. In order to realize the potential that you possess as an
emerging leader, you will need to go above and beyond the required amount of work.
Use you previous experiences, your values, these expectations and standards, feedback
from your supervisor and support from fellow staff members as tools for your success!
Each of you, as a member of the Residence Life staff, offers your enthusiasm, energy and
skills to help make all that we do successful. Incorporate these standards into your lives
and we will have a strong foundation in Residence Life in which we can build and make
things even better here at Keystone!
As a Student: It is your number one responsibility to keep your grades up, attend classes
and prioritize your school work. This is the reason you came to Keystone College in the
first place, to get an education. If you find yourself struggling, utilize campus resources!
With your Residents: REMEMBER YOU ARE NOT PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS!
Many of you became RA’s because you wanted to help the students around you. Listening
to academic and social concerns that occur in the residence halls are a large part of the
RA job. While it is important to listen to the needs and concerns of your residents, you
need to know when to draw the line and ask for help! That is what your SRD/RD or
counselors are here for!
Do not let personal relationships interfere with your job performance. Set clear
boundaries with your residents and maintain them. Avoid gossiping about fellow RA’s,
staff or students in front of your residents. This will only damage your reputation or the
situation at hand.
With the SRA’s: SRA’s are here to help you! They are experienced and have been in your
shoes! Feel free to ask them questions regarding the position and look to them or your
SRD/RD for guidance. If you have any concerns or ideas regarding the RA experience, talk
it over with them. The SRA’s will then talk it over with the SRD’s/RD’s.
SRD’s/RD’s: They’ve been there, done it and seen it all! Each of the SRD’s/RD’s have been
in your shoes at one point in time. They have experience in the field of student affairs and
are here to ultimately guide and help you. If you have any questions regarding the job,
students or academics, pretty much anything…talk it over with a SRD/RD.
Campus Safety / Community Relations: Always treat the officers with respect. You will
be working with them when you are on-duty. Get to know them and develop a good
working relationship. Make sure you keep the lines of communication open. When you
are doing your rounds, stop by the Campus Safety Office and check-in. This will help to
relay information and better identify possible problems or situation. When an officer
responds to a situation, introduce yourself as the RA just in case they do not already know
With your fellow RA’s : Always remember there is no “I” in team. Remember that you
are part of a team and should function as such. Trust and support your fellow RA’s and
utilize them whenever you need help. Always respect each other! There will be times
when you may disagree, but always keep the respect you have for one another. Leave
personal differences out of staff matters!
THE RA UNIVERSE
Some keys to becoming a successful RA:
What to do…
• Be on time for all meetings!
• Be respectful to all Res Life staff members, students and parents
• Any questions…if you are not sure about something, ASK!
• Pay attention!
• Address any issues that you feel need to be discussed. It is better to get
them out into the open than to push them aside where they could grow
into bigger problems or issues
• Offer suggestions and feedback
• Communicate in a respectful, non-confrontational and clear manner
• Maintain a positive attitude at all times
What NOT to do…
• Be late!
• Miss any scheduled meetings or trainings without the approval of the SRD
• Disrespect any Res Life staff members, students or parents
• Divulge confidential information
• Communicate in a confrontational and anger demeanor
• Make inappropriate comments about your residents, staff or professors
The Top Ten Ways to be a remarkable Resident Assistant:
10. Always be open-minded
9. Be Respectful to everyone you encounter
8. Do not be afraid to ask for help!
7. Get to know your fellow staff members and residents
6. Have Fun! You were put in this position for a reason, make the most of it!
5. Know your resources on-campus and utilize them!
4. If there is a problem, go directly to the source and work to resolve it.
3. Get your residents involved! The more involved they are on-campus, the
happier they will be!
2. Create goals for yourself. Plan Ahead!!!
1. Build community! Do not divide it!
TIME MANAGEMENT AND YOU…
Being a Resident Assistant is a lot of work! Make sure that you make time for your
academics and plan ahead. Also do not forget to make some time for yourself…take a
walk, participate in a campus activity or intramural sport, listen to music or play
some video games. Keeping a balanced schedule and having good time management
will help you to excel and have fun in the meantime. Here are a few helpful hints to
ensure you have good time management skills:
• Maintain a schedule or calendar. Keeping track of class work, meetings,
programs and your personal life can get a little crazy. Write it down and keep
yourself organized so you know what you need to do.
• Plan ahead! If you look at your calendar and realize you have a long day of
classes, meetings and programs, make sure you finish up your homework or
other projects ahead of time. It will save you from pulling all-nighters and not
stress you out.
• Be proactive and do not wait until the last minute to plan a program, meeting
or event. Take the time to plan it out and meet with your RD to discuss your
ideas or concerns.
• Take care of any problems immediately instead of letting it grow. Even
though some problems may seem small, the longer you wait to address them,
the worse the problem could get! Procrastination should be avoided at all
• Be involved in the campus community, but do not overextend yourself! Know
your limits of what you can accomplish and what you do not have enough
time for. Be sure not to get burnt out!
• Take time for yourself each day to avoid getting over-stressed. It is ok to close
your door once in a while or leave campus to relax. Just remember to take a
deep breath and utilize your fellow RA’s or your RD if there is something you
need help with.
Types of communication:
Interpersonal Communication: communication between two or more people who are
interdependent on one another, have a shared history. Communication is received by two
Direct channels are those that are obvious and can be easily recognized by the
receiver. They are also under direct control of the sender. In this category are the verbal
and non-verbal channels of communication. Verbal communication channels are those
that use words in some manner, such as written communication or spoken
communication. Non-verbal communication channels are those that do not require silly
words, such as certain overt facial expressions, controllable body movements (such as
that made by a traffic police to control traffic at an intersection), color (red for danger,
green means go etc), sound (sirens, alarms etc.).
Indirect channels are those channels that are usually recognized subliminally or
subconsciously by the receiver, and not under direct control of the sender. This includes
body language, that reflects the inner emotions and motivations rather than the actual
delivered message. It also includes such vague terms as "gut feeling" or "hunches"
Intrapersonal Communication: is language use or thought internal to the
communicator. Intrapersonal communication is the active internal involvement of the
individual in symbolic processing of messages. The individual becomes his or her own
sender and receiver, providing feedback to him or herself in an ongoing internal process.
It can be useful to envision intrapersonal communication occurring in the mind of the
individual in a model which contains a sender, receiver, and feedback loop.
Intrapersonal communication can encompass:
• Nocturnal dreaming, including and especially lucid dreaming
• Speaking aloud (talking to oneself), reading aloud, repeating what one hears; the
additional activities of speaking and hearing (in the third case of hearing again)
what one thinks, reads or hears may increase concentration and retention. This is
considered normal, and the extent to which it occurs varies from person to person.
• Writing one's thoughts or observations: the additional activities, on top of
thinking, of writing and reading back may again increase self-understanding
("How do I know what I mean until I see what I say?") and concentration. It aids
ordering one's thoughts; in addition it produces a record that can be used later
again. Copying text to aid memorizing also falls in this category.
• Making gestures while thinking: the additional activity, on top of thinking, of body
motions, may again increase concentration, assist in problem solving, and assist
• Sense-making (see Karl Weick) e.g. interpreting maps, texts, signs, and symbols
• Interpreting non-verbal communication (see Albert Mehrabian) e.g. gestures, eye
• Communication between body parts; e.g. "My stomach is telling me it's time for
Tips for effective communication during conflicts, meetings etc.
• Count from 1 to 10. When you get in the middle of an intense argument or when
someone suddenly lashes out at you, don’t get mad right away. Count 1 to 10 before
responding. This will make you aware that the person you are speaking to might
just be experiencing severe stress and does not intend to attack you personally.
• Recognize that you don’t know all the answers to all questions. If you don’t
know the answer just say that you don’t know. You don’t have to make other
people feel and think that you know everything.
Listen to other people’s concerns. People need to be heard just like you do. More
importantly, take the initiative to share in other people’s feelings.
• Always remember that what others may not mean the way we think they
mean it. Our values, beliefs and judgments may have altered the meaning of what
someone has said. Always allow for the possibility that our impression of what
someone has said may not be true.
• Focus on common interests rather than differences. This will help you direct
your energy to promoting the common interest and making everyone happier, and
will also help you avoid frustration.
Be aware when you impinge on someone’s space. Personal space is very important
for most people. When you impinge on their space try to ask them respectfully.
Tell them the reason you have to impinge on their space.
• Think positive. Always see the glass as half full rather than half empty. Doing so
will help you reduce stress. Also it can keep you motivated and pleasant when you
deal with other people.
Effective Communication for special circumstances:
Communicating with People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
Things to know:
• Deaf and hearing-impaired persons are entering the workplace in record numbers.
• Not all persons who are deaf cannot speak.
• Not all persons who are deaf lip-read.
• Sign language is not another form of English; it is an official language with its own
grammar, syntax and rules.
• Not all persons who are deaf use sign language.
• Lip-reading, while helpful without sound clues, is only 30%-50% effective, and
• More persons who are deaf or hearing impaired have some hearing rather than no
hearing at all.
• Not all persons who are deaf write and read well.
• Long conversations with persons who lip-read can be very fatiguing to the person
who has the impairment.
Things to do:
• Find out how the person communicates best.
• If the person reads lips, speak in a normal, not exaggerated way. Short, simple
sentences are best.
• Be aware of situations where a person may be waiting for a service (transportation,
a table, the start of an activity) where the common way to communicate is an
announcement or the calling of the person’s name. Make sure you take notes when
someone cannot hear you and develop an alternative way of notifying them.
• Gain their attention before starting a conversation.
• If the person lip-reads, avoid blocking their view of your face. Make sure the
lighting is good.
• If there is some doubt in your mind whether they understood you correctly,
rephrase your statement and ask them if you have been understood.
• If the person uses an interpreter, address the person, not the interpreter.
Things to consider:
• When someone asks, “What did you say?” the answers, “Never mind,” “Nothing,”
or “It’s not important,” are very common replies. These are insulting and
demeaning, because they communicate that the person is not worth the effort of
• Persons who deal very well one-on-one in communication may have a hard time
with two or more speakers, especially if there are many interruptions and
• Showing impatience to someone who is deaf or hearing impaired may cause
someone who is less assertive to back off from telling you of his/her needs.
Things to avoid:
• Make sure there are no physical barriers between you and the person while in
• If the person is using hearing aids, avoid conversations in large, open and noisy
• Do not become impatient or exasperated with the person if it takes longer to
Communicating with People who are Blind or Visually Impaired
Things to know:
• While many persons who are blind can use Braille, the majority of persons who are
blind do not.
• The definition of legally blind is 20/200 vision with best correction. Many more
persons who are considered blind have some sight, rather than no sight at all.
• Many persons who are blind are quite mobile and independent. Some people who
are blind view blindness not as a disability as much as an inconvenience.
Things to do:
• Introduce yourself. Identify who you are and what your job or role is. Give the
person verbal information that is visually obvious to those who can see.
• Tell them when you have brought new items into their environment, describing
what they are and, most importantly, where you have put them.
• Lead someone who is blind only after they have accepted your offer to do so. Allow
them to hold your arm rather than you holding their arm. It is important to let
them control their own movements.
• Be descriptive when giving directions. Saying “Over there” has little meaning to
someone who cannot see you point. “Four doors after turning right from the
elevator” would be much more helpful.
• Describe things from their perspective, not yours. Some persons who are blind use
a “clock” reference for things directly in front of them such as a meal. For example,
something could be positioned at three o’clock (directly in front and close). Before
using this strategy, ask the person if this is useful to them.
Things to consider:
• Persons who are blind have a long history of being patronized and talked to as if
they were children. They have been told more often what to do rather than asked
what they would prefer doing. This attitude is not acceptable towards any person.
• Persons who are blind and/or visually impaired are by and large much more
independent than most people realize. Many times negotiating the physical
environment is less frustrating than trying to communicate with persons who are
not sensitive to their needs.
Things to avoid:
• Do not interact with a guide dog while it is working (in harness).
• Do not move items (furniture, personal items) after the person has learned their
position. This can be frustrating and, in some cases, dangerous for the person.
• Do not use references that are visually oriented like, “Over there near the green
Communicating with People who have Speech Impairments
Things to know:
• There are many reasons for having difficulty with speech. Deafness, cerebral palsy,
stroke, head injury, physical malformation of speech mechanisms and general
speech impairments are just a few.
• It is not unusual in stressful situations for someone’s speech to become harder to
Things to do:
• Consider writing as an alternative means of communication. Use a computer
terminal, or a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD), or plain paper and
• If you do not understand what the person is saying, bring it to his/her attention
immediately and ask how the two of you may better communicate.
• If no solution to the communication problem can be worked out with you and the
person, consider asking if there is someone who could translate or interpret what
is being said.
• If it is a stressful situation, try to stay calm. If you are in a public area with many
distractions, consider moving to a quiet or private location.
• Things to consider:
• Many persons with difficulty in speech find themselves in situations where people
treat them as if they are drunk, retarded or mentally ill. They are accustomed to
being avoided, ignored and even hung up on by phone.
• Accessibility for persons with difficulty in speech lies within your power. Your
understanding, patience and communication skills are as important to someone
with a speech impairment as a ramp or grab bar is to someone who uses a
Things to avoid:
• Do not become impatient or exasperated with the communication.
• Do not finish peoples’ sentences for them.
• Do not pretend to understand them when you really do not.
You are the key to community development on your floor and in your building. It is vital
to community development that you reach out and really get to know each and every one
of your residents. As the RA, promote floor/building ownership among your residents.
This can be done by getting them active, involved and reaching out to cater to their
interests. When you have your residents involved in decisions and activities on the
floor/building, they begin to take pride in their floor/building which leads to a feeling of
responsibility for what happens on their floor.
Sounds like a lot? Here are some helpful suggestions to get you started:
• First Floor Meeting of the Semester: Set the tone! Get your residents involved
during this meeting by starting with an icebreaker or two. This will ensure that
each of your residents get to know each others and start making people feel
comfortable. Read upcoming section on floor meetings for more info
• Decorations! Make your floor into a welcoming and exciting place. Encourage
your residents to decorate as well to make the floor/building to make it their own.
Holidays are also a great time to get the floor involved and decorate as a group.
• Community Agreements: This is a great opportunity for you to empower your
residents to have a voice on how their community will be run. It allows all of your
residents to set the norms and acceptable behaviors on your floor.
• Activities / Programs: Throughout the course of the year you will get to know
your residents and their hobbies, interests, etc. Utilize your knowledge of your
residents to plan activities and programs that cater to their interests. This way you
will have higher turn-outs at events and your residents will find them more
FLOOR / BUILDING MEETINGS
Planning your first floor meeting can be a little intimidating. Make sure you plan ahead
and create an agenda so you are organized. By creating an agenda, you have mapped out
what you want to discuss and are prepared to talk about the topic. If you are not prepared
for a meeting, you will be wasting your residents’ time and they will get frustrated. This
will lead to you having difficulty with attendance and participation for your next building
meeting. Remember to stay calm and be yourself! Make this meeting your own and be
Here is a sample of an agenda for your first floor/building meeting for freshmen or new
Living in the Halls
Staff (Other RA’s, RD’s, SRD’s)
What does the staff do?
Housekeeping and Maintenance
Damages: room, floor, building
Discussion of what they would like their community to be
Open door policy
Respect for self and others
Discuss student confrontation (ex: regarding noise complaints)
Mailroom / obtaining a mailbox
Building resources (lounges, laundry room, computer labs, etc.)
Food (cafeteria and grill hours, etc.)
This is just a list of some of the topics that you can cover during your floor meeting. You
do not need to include all of this information on the first meeting since it will probably
overwhelm the students. Possibly think of creative ways that you can present this
information other than in a meeting. Bulletin boards? Floor newsletter?
There may come a time when some of the students on your floor approach you about
disagreements with their roommate. Take this as a serious concern and follow up with
the students to make sure that the disagreement is not going to escalate into a bigger
If the problems continue after you follow up with the students, sit both of the roommates
down and have them create a roommate agreement. This will help both students to
understand and agree on the concerns they may have between each other.
Since both students will have to sign off on the contract, they are bound to uphold it.
The roommate contract may not work in every situation but it’s a start. If the roommates
are still having problems after signing a contract, please arrange a meeting with the
RD/SRD of your building.
The following is a blank roommate agreement form that can be used in any roommate
conflict. In certain cases you may have to create a more specific agreement. In this case,
speak with your RD/SRD to discuss future options and how to handle the situation.
All roommates will be involved in completing this agreement. If the agreement is broken,
the person who broke the contract will be the one to move out of the room if it is deemed
necessary by the Residence Life staff. (Check all that apply.)
1. Cleaning the Room
___Everything in its place ___ Leave things where we drop them
___Neat but not perfect ___ Each person is responsible for their own side
How will responsibility for keeping the room clean by shared?
2. Study Time
We like to study during the ___Day ___ Night ___ Morning
When studying we need ___Silence ___ TV playing ___ Stereo playing
Studying with a group in the room is ____ok ____not ok
The study hours for our room will be ____________________
3. Use of Possessions
___ It is ok to borrow each other’s stuff as long as we ask each time.
___ We prefer to use our own things and not share
These are items that we are willing to share with each other:
4. Temperature of the Room
We like the room ___hot ___cold
We like to keep the window ___open ____closed
The air conditioner/heater will be set at ____ degrees unless both roommates agree to
5. Appearance of the room
___ We will decorate the room together
___ Each roommate is expected to decorate their own side
____ Friends are allowed to be over at any time
____ Friends must be out of the room by _______ so we can go to bed
____ Friends are not allowed to come over when we are studying
____ There will be no over night guests
____ Overnight guests are allowed as long as there is at least 24 hours warning
____ Friends are allowed to sit on roommate’s bed and at roommate’s desk
____ Friends must stay on your side of the room
7. Private Time
____ We will work together to make sure that each roommate has private time in the
___________________ will be alone in the room on this day and time____________.
___________________ will be alone in the room on this day and time____________.
8. Safety and Security
_____ We will keep our door locked at all times when we are out of the room (even
_____ We will lock the door at night while we are sleeping
_____ We will do our best to not lock our roommate out of the room, but
understand that mistakes happen from time to time.
_____ We will not allow others to touch our personal belongings.
9. If a problem arises
____ We will talk to each other if a problem comes up in the room.
____ We will not talk to other people in the suite or on the floor about our
____ We will get the RA involved if the problem cannot be fixed.
____ We understand that we must act with respect at all times.
10. Any other issues that need to be discussed:
Signature of Roommate ___________________________________ Date ________
Signature of Roommate ____________________________________Date ________
Signature of RA __________________________________________Date ________
Signature of RD __________________________________________Date ________
Community agreements are a great way to establish certain ground rules and
expectations for a community. They are designed so that every member of the community
(whether on the floor or building) has a voice. These are agreements are designed for the
community, by the community. This will help to alleviate problems and overall conflict
on the floor. Once the agreement is created with everyone’s input, the residents will be
aware of each others expectations.
NOTE: Timing is important. Community agreements should be established after a
few weeks of the students living together, typically 2-3 weeks after move-in. This
way the students know each other better and have an idea of how things have
been going within the community and what should be standard or changed.
To develop a successful community agreement, you will need to understand the concerns
of your residents. You will also need to communicate what is flexible and what is not.
(Example: College policies are not flexible, but quiet hours on the floor could be, etc.) You
may want to add other concerns that may be brought up in the future such as
bathroom/hallway cleanliness, noise levels, guests, etc.
Below is a step by step summary of how to create a community agreement and make it
work for your residents.
1. Planning and Preparation
At your first floor meeting present the idea of the community agreement and
describe what it is. Let your residents know that they will be able to give their
input on the agreement at a future meeting and have them start thinking about
how they would like their community to be.
2. Discussion and Creation
Distribute a blank form with some of your or the RD’s concerns and begin a
discussion on each of the concerns. Lead a group discussion so that each of your
residents can voice their ideas. It is extremely important to involve all of your
residents in this process!
Try to reach a final agreement by group consensus at your next floor meeting.
Make the agreement formal by typing it up and having each resident from the
floor sign the agreement. You can also make the agreement into a poster which
can be displayed on the floor.
Check out the Community Agreement example on the next page…
As a member of this residence hall and floor, I will abide by the standards and
expectations established by this community.
Specifically I agree to:
... treat others the way I want to be treated.
... promote an environment that fosters learning, focuses on academic achievement and is
free from excessive disruption.
... help create and promote an environment that is safe and healthy for all residents.
... support the diverse culture of this hall and respect other residents regardless of the
differences between us.
... promote a living environment that is clean, particularly in the areas that all residents
... treat the residence hall facility and its furnishings, and the personal property of other
residents with respect.
... hold myself and others accountable for the decisions we make and for the
consequences of acting upon them.
... not harm another resident either physically or psychologically.
... confront and/or report others who violate the standards of this community.
... respect the residence hall staff and support the work they do to develop community in
... refrain from using vulgar, foul or derogatory language, particularly in public areas.
... abide by all residence hall regulations and College policies.
(Signatures of community members)
Steps to Integrate Conflict Management:
• Allow yourself time to calm down and to evaluate the situation
• Gather appropriate information or documentation
• Asses the points you are willing or unwilling to compromise on
• Asses what the other party wants
• Make a preliminary determination of the appropriate conflict-handling behavior
for the situation: for the relationship: for the environment
• Listen to the other party’s concerns
• Try to understand his or her viewpoint
• Avoid stereotyping and making predeterminations
• Try to remain objective
• Remain as flexible and open as possible
• Watch your own use of language
• Watch your nonverbal communication
• Observe how the other party communicates verbally and nonverbally
• Stick to the issues: don’t go off on tangents
• Don’t make promises you can’t keep
• Don’t present issues in a win-lose context
• Don’t sidestep the issues
• Be sincere and trustworthy
• Try to remain open-minded and flexible
• Use the conflict-handling behavior appropriate for the situation and be
Able to revise your behavior according to how the transaction progresses
• Listen, repeat, clarify information
• Make sure all parties’ concerns have been articulated and considered
• Summarize and clarify decisions
• Review procedures for implementing any changes
Conflict Management Styles:
The five conflict styles, by Lawyer and Katz, are described as follows:
1. Collaborator – The collaborator’s approach to conflict is to manage it by maintaining
interpersonal relationships and ensuring that both parties to the conflict achieve their
personal goals. This attitude toward conflict is one in which the collaborator acts not
only on behalf of his or her self-interest but on behalf of the opposing party’s interests as
well. This is a win/win posture, in which both the collaborator’s stance toward conflict
management and that of the other party are win.
2. Compromiser – The compromiser’s approach to conflict is to assume that a win/win
solution is not possible. The objective is to find some expedient, mutually acceptable
solution, which partially satisfies the parties involved. This is a compromise posture, with
both the compromiser’s stance toward conflict management and that of the other party to
3. Accommodator - The accommodator’s approach to conflict involves maintaining the
interpersonal relationship at all costs, with little or no concern for the personal goals of
the parties involved. This is a yield-lose/win posture, in which the accommodator’s
stance toward conflict management is to yield-lose, allowing the other to win.
4. Controller - The controller’s approach to conflict is to take the necessary steps to
ensure that his or her personal goals are met, whatever the cost to the relationship
involved. Conflict is viewed as a win or lose proposition, with winning somehow equated
with status and competence.
5. Avoider – The avoider’s approach to conflict is to view it as something to be shunned
at all costs. A central theme of this style is hopelessness. Personal goals are usually not
met, nor are the interpersonal relationship maintained in this style of the conflict. This is
a leave-lose/win posture, in which the avoider’s stance toward conflict management is to
leave-lose, allowing the other to win.
ROOMMATE CONFLICT AND MEDIATION
In case of a roommate conflict that may call for mediation or an agreement between two
(or more) roommates, refer to the roommate agreement form previously mentioned in
this section of the handbook. This form provides a way to document problem areas and
the resolutions decided upon during mediation. Students must sign the agreement after it
has been completed with the help of a Resident Director or a Resident Assistant. The
agreements should be kept on file, in the Resident Director’s office, in case of further
Steps to conducting roommate mediations:
1. One of the roommates approaches the RA:
Find out what the problem is.
Have they talked to their roommate about the problem?
Make sure that the problems have not spread to the rest of the
floor (stop this if it is happening).
Give them a timeline to talk to their roommate about the
problem and say that you will be talking to the other person at
Understand that the situation is a real problem and be
Explain that moving is not an option at this time. They must first
go through the protocol of roommate mediations.
Keep the RD informed about the situation.
After they have spoken with their roommate, check in to get the
other side of the story.
Have all of the information readily accessible.
If they are uncomfortable with you being the mediator, ask if
another RA would be better.
• Your room, their room, outside, the office
• Set ground rules before you begin (no yelling, etc)
Ask someone to begin by explaining the problem. Give the other
roommate and opportunity to respond to any accusations or
Do not favor one roommate over the other, even if you agree with
one and not with the other. You are a third person unbiased
person. If you cannot be that person, another RA should be
conducting the mediation.
After all of the problems have been expressed, ask the students to
come up with solutions to the problems.
Create and Roommate Contact.
Follow up with the situation.
If you do not feel like you are able to help, let the RD know that you need help with this
roommate problem. Always keep the RD in the loop!
After the above steps have been completed and the situation has still not been resolved,
the RD should then follow the process outlined above. If there will be no solution to the
problems, the following steps will happen:
1. The RD will contact the Director of Residence Life.
2. The Director of Residence Life and the RD will have a meeting with the student(s)
to learn more about the problem and try to see if any solutions are possible.
3. If no solution is possible, the RD will try to find a room for the student to move
into upon their discretion.
4. The RD will notify the student of the room.
5. The student will come to the Office of Residence Life to fill out the required
paperwork and get their new keys. At the time of the move, the student will be
required to check out of their old room and complete the process of checking in to
their new room.
Moving students is always the last resort! Immediate moves will only happen in
emergency situations, such as when a life is in danger or there is physical
Confidentiality of Information:
As a RA, you may be given information by many different sources. Your discretion is
required to determine who else, if anyone, should be given this information. Your
supervisor may tell you something that has not yet been officially announced. This is for
your information only and should not be shared with residents of the building or your
friends until your supervisor gives you permission.
Students may also tell you something private about themselves in helping with a
situation. Do not share this information with other students or even other RA’s. This
information, in most cases, should be shared with your supervisor.
Some students will ask you not to tell anyone about what they have said. In these cases let
the student know that you may need to share it with you supervisor, depending upon the
severity of the information. Never promise to keep a conversation confidential
before you hear what the student says. There are certain topics that you should not
keep confidential. If a student talks about harming themselves or someone else, tell your
supervisor or a RD/SRD immediately.
If you feel overwhelmed by confidentiality, talk to your supervisor. We are a team and
you do not have to carry the burden alone.
Building /College Incidents:
When something happens on your floor, in your building or in another residence hall
when you are on-duty, it should be reported either to your supervisor or the RD on-call.
Your supervisor or the RD on-call will determine whether or not the information needs to
be shared with other staff members or residents of the building.
If there is a major situation occurring on campus, make sure you give your residents only
the facts. RA’s are representatives of the College and should only present factual
information about situations. If your supervisor has not given you the facts, you should
not share any information with your residents. This will prevent the creation of rumors
and false information from being spread. In the end, make sure you know and have the
exact correct information. This will help keep your credibility among your residents and
lead to less confusion and misinformation.
Should residents ever feel that what they tell you has become common knowledge among
your staff or your residents, it will not be long before you find that no one else will
confide or trust in you. Make sure you make good decisions when it comes to
OPENING AND CLOSING PROCEDURES
FALL AND SPRING OPENING:
Resident Assistants are expected to help in the opening procedures in the residence halls.
This is an important time for building preparation, administrative tasks and getting ready
for the students. It is important that you are prepared and plan your time wisely. You
want to create a welcoming atmosphere and get the students excited to be back at
Keystone! Below is a list to help you plan for what needs to be done.
RA Opening Task List
Complete Room Condition Inventory form for each room prior to the students
Complete Area Condition Inventory form for each of your floors or hallways
where there is lounge furniture
Cover all bulletin boards on your floors
Create door tags for each of your residents and place on doors
Cover and decorate your room door
Plan your first floor meetings with every floor you are responsible for and
include icebreakers, community agreements, policies, etc.
With your hall/area staff, create a welcome banner and prepare the building to
welcome back the students
Meet with your Resident Director to get a key to the building office
Help clean and organize staff office
Attend all training sessions and bring handbook and pen to each session
Read through RA manual, bring any questions to training sessions
Place work orders for any last minute things that need to be repaired or fixed
Once the students have moved in, go door to door with the Room Condition
Inventory sheets and explain the purpose of the form and have the students
sign off on the form. Use this moment as a chance to get to know your
residents as well!
Once all Room Condition Inventory sheets have been signed for each room on
your floor/area, return them to your Resident Director or the building office
Please ensure that residents sign and date their Room Condition Inventory
form. This will eliminate students being wrongfully charged for damages.
If you have any questions, please call extension 8271.
BREAK CLOSING (Thanksgiving and Spring Break):
All College housing will close for specific breaks during the year. All Residence Life staff
members are expected to remain on-campus until the residence halls are officially
closed and the students have left campus. If a RA can not stay until after the residence
halls are officially closed, they will need to get approval from their supervisor.
To close the residence halls for breaks, the following tasks should be completed and
checked by the Residence Life staff:
The residence hall will need to locked down and checked to make sure all
students have left.
All areas of the building (including student rooms) should be checked to assure
Windows are closed and locked
Blinds are drawn
All plugs have been unplugged from outlets (with the possible
exception of microfridges)
All lights are out
Remove any illegal items placed in the room such as lounge
furniture, microwaves, refrigerators, etc.
If you find alcohol or drugs during checks, contact your RD/SRD
Check for running water in sinks (bathrooms)
Document any violations of College policy you may see and give it to your
RD/SRD immediately. Examples of violations would be possession of alcohol
or drugs, display of empty alcohol containers, possession of stolen property
(lounge furniture, etc.) etc. If you have any questions, contact your supervisor.
Once all the rooms have been checked and the building is clear, check with
your RD/SRD and see if they need you to do anything else. If not, your RD/SRD
will give you permission to leave.
BREAK OPENING (Thanksgiving and Spring Break):
The residence halls will reopen typically at noon on the Sundays following the break. All
Residence Life staff members are expected to come back by noon to ensure there is staff
available to assist students and families as they return from break. If you can not make it
back to campus by noon when the halls re-open, please contact your RD/SRD.
FALL AND SPRING CLOSING:
Resident Assistants are expected to help in the closing procedures in the residence halls.
This is an important and busy time to clean up the building, finish administrative tasks
and get ready for the students departure. It is important that you are prepared and plan
your time wisely. You will be busy with checking out students from their rooms and
collecting keys. Below is a list to help you plan for what needs to be completed so the
residence halls can close.
RA End-of-Year Task List
Participate in the mandatory floor meetings with every floor in the hall
regarding the end-of-the-year check-out process.
Follow up with students and make sure they have turned in “Intentions Form”
for the upcoming semester
Post sign-up sheets for checkout times outside of your door
Post all end-of-year flyers on each floor by Friday April 31st
Place donation boxes in your lobby and check on a frequent basis
Remove all signs, flyers, and posters from on your floor after the residence halls
Remove all staples and/or tacks from your floor bulletin board.
Walk through your floor with your RD after every student has checked out of
Bag any personal items left by students on your floor and mark student’s name
and room number on the bag.
Help clean and organize staff office.
Submit all outstanding programming forms by Friday May 7th
Note any damages that residents might incur. Please do not guarantee
residents that they will not get charged. Please make your RD aware of any
Please ensure that residents sign, date and time their checkout. This can
eliminate students being wrongfully charged for damages.
Students will be fined if they do not check-out properly so please stress to your
floors the importance of following the process.
Rooms must be restored to move-in condition!
If you have any questions, please talk with your RD/SRD or call the Residence
Life Office at ext.8271.
ROOM CONDITION INVENTORY FORMS
One of the most important duties of a Resident Assistant during the opening of each
semester is completing Room Condition Inventory forms for each of the empty rooms on
Prior to the student’s arrival, every RA should go to each empty room and conduct a
visual scan of everything in each room (furniture, walls, doors, ceilings…). During this
visual scan you will want to look for any noticeable damages or problems with the room
such as vandalism on the furniture, chipped paint on the walls or door, etc. Any
observations should be written down on and documented on the form. BE AS
ACCURATE AS POSSIBLE! If possible, place a work order if something can be fixed or
After documenting each room on the form, plan a time once the students have arrived
and go door to door with the completed Room Condition Inventory forms. Explain to the
students what the form is and how it applies to them. Make sure you get all of the
students who live in the room to sign off on the form when they check-in and when they
check-out of the room. This will ensure proper billing for any damages that occurred in
the room while the students were living there.
Room Condition Inventory
Item Check-in Condition Check-out Condition
Check-in Condition Check-out Condition
I accept responsibility on this date for I understand that the damages listed
these items and conditions. I understand above are preliminary and that any
that I will be charged at the replacement additional charges may be billed to me
or repair cost, including labor, for loss after the final room inspection.
and damages incurred.
Staff Date Student Signature Staff Date Student Signature
On-Duty logs as utilized by the Resident Assistants, serves the purpose of monitoring
and documenting the overall behavior/condition of the residence halls on their duty
evening. The following procedure should be utilized to complete this form.
Starting in the fall of 2009, all on-duty logs will go paperless!
1. Go to http://kcreslife.wikispaces.com/ and log into the page.
2. Go to “On the Job” and “Duty.”
3. On the “duty” page click on the “discussion” tab. The Resident Assistant will
fill in their name, date and times as the subject heading.
4. Documentation is extremely important so RA’s should record any necessary
information in the “message” section of the form as well as utilize any other
documentation procedures communicated by the RD.
5. If there are damages or work that needs to be completed, a work order
should be filed. Complaint Forms / Incident reports should also be
completed if necessary.
6. Duty logs should be completed at the end of the night and include all
observations from rounds done throughout the residence halls.
As a Resident Assistant, it will be very important to check your email periodically.
RD/SRD’s will be sending you key information pertaining to students and scheduling
meetings through your email. Please make sure you check your email at least
twice a day, morning and night.
MAINTENANCE AND WORK ORDERS
If you notice a problem or something that needs to be repaired in a student’s room, in
a hallway or in a lounge in one of the residence halls, place a work order. Placing work
orders is easy and the fastest way to get something done (except in emergencies such
as leaking pipes, broken glass, etc., then you should contact the RD on-call or Campus
Here’s how to place a work order:
1. Go to the Keystone College website
2. Go down to the “Online Services Toolbar” located in the middle of the page.
3. Look for the yellow icon with the wrench an click on it.
4. This will open the facilities work request system. Log in as “reslife” and type in
the password “reslife.”
5. Depending upon the issue that needs to be addressed, look through the
different menus and decide what category your issue falls under.
6. On the next menu, click on the magnifying glass next to the building, floor and
room to select the correct locations for the issue.
7. Type a brief description of the problem and what needs to be fixed. Be as
specific as possible giving directions
8. To end the description, make sure you type your name. This will help the
RD/SRD’s track the work orders and know what is happening in their
As a RA, you will be on-duty one night during the week and typically one weekend a
month. What does this mean? What does it entail? Why do I have to be on-duty?
What does being on-duty mean?
When a RA is on-duty it means that they are present and available in the residence
halls to be able to address and respond to any issues or situations that may arise.
What does being on-duty entail?
When a RA is on-duty you will remain on-campus either in your room, your building
office or in your residence hall. RA’s are required to complete three (3) office hours
during their weekly on-duty shift. RA’s are also required to complete three (3) rounds
during their on-duty shift. A round is when you walk through the residence halls and
check on the buildings. You want to stop in to say hello to your residents and fellow
students while also checking the buildings to make sure there are no students violating
any policies (quiet hours, drugs/alcohol, etc.)
Why do I have to be on-duty?
RA’s are on-duty for many different reasons.
1. To maintain a safe, clean and fun living / learning environment in the
2. To be available for your residents, fellow students and staff members
3. To build relationships with the residents living in your building and on-
4. To assist in enforcing College policy and keeping the residence halls a safe
5. Think about it… Think about your role and how you fit into the bigger
picture. There are many more reasons I am sure you can come up with.
What if I need to reschedule an on-duty shift?
If you are not going to be able to work an on-duty shift, you need to find another RA to
switch on-duty shifts. Once you have found another RA who is willing to switch, go to
the Residence Life wiki page, http://kcreslife.wikispaces.com/ and go to the section
“On the job” and click on “documents.” Open the “RA Switch Form” and fill out the
blanks with the information of the RA who is switching shifts with you. Once the form
is completed, email the form to the Senior Resident Director of Operations for
verification and approval.
If you need to reschedule an on-duty shift at the last minute, try to find another RA
who is willing to switch shifts with you. Please call the RD on-call to inform them of
the change so they know who is working and who to contact.
The SRA’s have a slightly different role than a regaular RA when it comes to being on-
duty or on-call. The SRA’s work closely with the SRD’s and are responsible for holding
the on-call phone during their shift. The SRA’s will address and respond to any
concerns or issues during their on-call shift. If there is a major incident (such as an
alcohol or drug violation) or any situation where they feel the SRD is need, they will
then call the SRD to come and address the situation.
SRD / RD ON-CALL
SRD’s and RD’s are on-call seven (7) days a week on a rotating basis. RD’s have office
hours during the day where they can be reached in their building offices and the SRD’s
have office hours in the main Residence Life offices in Sickler Hall.
If you need a SRD/ RD after normal business hours, call the Residence Life Hotline
(on-call phone) at 570-840-8473. The SRD/RD on-call should be notified in case of any
emergencies or incidents that occur in any of the residence halls.
If the SRD/RD is not answering the on-call phone, it may be because they are in the
middle of another situation. Leave a voicemail and the SRD/RD on-call will return your
call. If it is an emergency, contact Campus Safety while you wait for the SRD/RD on-
call to return your call.
After dealing with an incident or situation, it is important that the event is
documented and documented properly. This will help in the future so we are able to
keep track of previous incidents or situations that occurred in a residence hall or with
a particular student.
The following page has a copy of the RA Information/Incident Report you will be
filling out to report violations. It’s easy! Just check the proper category the incident
falls under and get the involved students information.
Here are a few helpful suggestions to assist you in documenting incidents / situations:
DO NOT SAY: INSTEAD, SAY:
“Busted a party” “Documented a party” or
“Documented what I observed.”
Accused of / Allegations Charges: these are possible policy
violations that will be discussed with
Guilty Found in violation of policy
Innocent Charges dropped
Trial Judicial Hearing
Evidence Information (documented by staff)
Sentence / Punishment Sanctions / Educational fines
“You are going to be fine X amount of You may not be sure of the fine amount
dollars.” for different situations and whether this
is the students first or second offense,
so wait until your SRD/RD has looked
at the report for more information
Office of Residence Life
Resident Assistant Information / Incident Report
Date: Time: A.M. / P.M. Location: Resident Assistant Name:
Please check the appropriate square
Conduct Report / Judicial Board
Residence Life Follow-up
File / Other
Type of Incident
Code of Conduct Violation Medical Psychological Concern Roommate Conflict Other
Student Code of Conduct Violation
Abuse Falsification/False Testimony Rollerblades/skates/bicycles
Academic Misconduct Fire Safety Sexual Misconduct/Harassment
Alcohol Firearms/Weapons/Explosives Sexual Assault/Rape
Arson Gambling Stalking
Automotive Harassment Terrorist Threats
Complicity Hazing Theft/Attempted Theft
Computer/Technology Theft Inappropriate Conduct Threats of Violence
Contractual Obligations Littering Tobacco Use/Smoking
Demonstrations/Riotous Conduct Misuse of Materials Trespassing
Disorderly/Disruptive Conduct Misuse of Keys Unauthorized Entry/Use
Domestic/Relationship Violence Misuse of Identification Vandalism
Drugs and Controlled Substances Obscene/Lewd Conduct Violation of State or Federal Law
Endangering Health or Safety Privacy
Failure to Comply/Noncompliance Failure to Respond to Notice
Person(s) Involved: (College Official check box for disciplinary/judicial board action)
Name ID Number Position (student/staff) Address/Hall
Cell Phone #
Please provide a detailed and accurate account of the incident that occurred. This should be a
precise account of the situation that required your attention. You should only record what you
observed, actions of the person(s) involved, and your response to the situation. Only fact and
specific dialogue should be reported.
WHY DO WE DOCUMENT?
As the Residence Life staff, why do we document and respond to violations of policy?
When students violate the standards set by the College and their community, the
College is responsible to educate the students through the disciplinary and judicial
system. The goals of documenting and responding to violations include:
1. To bring students, behavior into compliance with the College and
2. To educate students by explaining the reasons for the College and
3. To hold the students accountable for their actions and behaviors
4. To assist students in making better choices that will enable them to help
grow into their adult roles in the future
5. To help students better understand the greater picture of how their actions
and behaviors impact the College and the community
It is true… there will be some times when you need to approach students in difficult
situations. There are many times when students will approach you as well. You as a
Resident Assistant, have an obligation to the College and to your fellow students to
enforce College policy. The following are steps to take to address problems before they
occur (prevention) and to approach situations when they occur (intervention),
PREVENTION: Taking care of it before it happens!
You will be able to avoid some possible conflicts or situations by discussing and
enforcing policies and procedures with your residents as soon as they start the year.
Keep consistent and your residents will see this!
1. Explain policies and the reasons behind each one. Explain to the students
that they are designed to be fair
2. Discuss rules and the consequences if someone breaks the rules
3. Create a community agreement
4. Explain to students the resources that are available to them to avoid future
problems (ex: counseling)
5. Explain your role as a RA and how that will affect your residents regarding
reporting behaviors, etc.
Assertive Behavior is…
• The type of behavior in which a person stands up for their rights in a way that
the rights of another are not violated
• Is a direct, honest and appropriate expression of one’s feelings, opinions or
beliefs. It shows consideration for another person.
Assertive Behavior can…
• Communicate respect for the other person but not necessarily the other
• Enable a person to act in his/her best interests, to stand up for himself/herself
without anxiety, to stand up for his/her rights without denying the rights of
When you act Assertively…
• You feel confident
• You feel self-respecting
• You choose for yourself (saying No in a respectful manner is ok!)
• Others feel general respect about themselves when you act assertively
PRINCIPLES OF ASSERTIVE BEHAVIOR:
Self Esteem: Strive to deal with the problem in such a way that your own self esteem
and other persons are not damaged. It is the other person’s behavior you want to stop
or change and that is not achieved by demeaning someone’s basic humanity.
Power: Realize that each of us have the power to affect the outcome of a particular
situation. Because you have the authority in most situations, does not mean you are
better than the other person.
Control: Stay in control of the situation by managing your own behavior.
Understanding what you are trying to accomplish and controlling your behavior will
help you achieve your goals.
Natural Tendency: Fight the natural tendency to return anger with anger. You are the
person charged with resolving the problem and you have all the rules, policies and
support behind you. There is no need for you to get angry. Getting angry will cause
more harm then good in any situation.
Primary Issue: Manage the primary issue so that it does not escalate into a more
complex secondary issue. Reduce the problem to its simplest form and deal with that.
Avoid adding other issues into the mix.
DISCIPLINARY CONFRONTATIONS: Cool, calm and collected.
There are no rules on how to approach or confront a particular disciplinary situation.
You can, however, develop skills in confrontation that will help you in the future. Over
time, you will feel more confident approaching students and dealing with
One of the best ways to help confront students is to develop assertive communication.
Assertive communication is a balance between aggressive communication and passive
communication. Assertive communication is open, honest and non-aggressive. Here
are some tips to remember:
1. Describe the person’s behavior in objective terms
2. Describe how this behavior affects you and/or others living in the residence
halls or on-campus
3. Describe how you feel about the behavior
4. Describe how you would like the other person to correct his/her behavior
Example: “Bill, I saw you spraying silly string on Ted’s door, If the silly string hardens,
it can ruin the paint which would create an expense and damage College property. I do
not believe you have the right to damage the door and inconvenience the student. I
would like you to clean off the door. Unless it is not cleaned up immediately, you may
face disciplinary actions for what you did.”
CONFRONTING INTOXICATED PEOPLE: Almost all of you will confront an
intoxicated student…here are some helpful tips to deal with intoxicated people:
1. Introduce yourself and what your role is to the student
2. Consider the intoxicated student. Is his/her judgment impaired, physical
condition diminished, possibly more aggressive? The person may not be
responsive to someone approaching them and may question your authority
3. Understand how comfortable you are with the student and his/her state of
mind. Are they ill? Violent?
4. Know when to call for help! If the intoxicated person turns violent or make
the situation worse, call the RD on-call or Campus Safety.
5. Decide what specific behavior you wish the intoxicated student to stop, (ex:
noise, visitor violation, violent behavior, etc.) State this to the student. It
may not be worth trying to discuss the issue at the time since the student is
impaired but you are still responsible for holding the student accountable.
Document the behavior and the situation so it can be discussed with the
student at a later time when they are not impaired.
ASSERTIVENESS AND CONFRONTATIONS:
Most common types of situations that a RA confronts:
• Hallway sports
• Visitation violations
Most commons reactions by students in these situations:
• Showing fear
• Try to intimidate you
• They are compliant
• They get angry
• Avoidance / run away
Most commons ways to escalate a situation:
• Attracting a crowd
• Getting personal with someone rather than separating the person from the
• Losing your temper
• Not getting all the facts
• Not identifying yourself
• Yelling at a person
• Push or hitting the person
TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE CONFRONTATION:
• Remember you are confronting the behavior, not the person. Do not reject a
resident because he/she made a poor choice concerning his/her behavior
• Never confront a student infront of their peers. Take the person aside and
address the behavior
• Concern yourself with the specific behavior rather than motives. Do not
speculate as to why a person behaved a certain way, just deal with what
• Keep the confrontation constructive and positive
• Communicate clearly and directly
• Stick to the facts, keep the content simple
• If possible, have another staff member with you as a witness
• Focus on the person’s strengths instead of weaknesses
• Reflection: reflect the message of the person you are dealing with. This helps
the aggressor realize that he/she has been heard and understood. Aggression is
usually released because feelings are being ignored
• Pointing out assumptions: every argument is based on assumptions and this is
true in the case of the aggressor as well. Try to listen to the individual and
pinpoint those assumptions because they are the real central issue of the
• The “I” language: take personal ownership of the situation. Tell the person your
feelings and your needs. You have a job to do and this individual is stopping you
from doing that job. Make yourself a person instead of “just another RA trying
to bust someone.”
• Questions: ask plenty of questions. Find out what has been going on that day or
that night. Find out if the individual has plans for the night. You might stumble
across a hidden motive for anger and aggression.
• Nonverbal Behavior:
o Needs to be congruent with what you are saying
o Keep your voice soft
o Remember individual personal space
o Take the situation seriously (do not laugh or smile)
o Avoid clenching your fists, playing with keys or other distracting
o Remember to talk directly to the student and establish eye contact
• Stop and prepare yourself
• Check your body language (calm yourself)
• Maintain control by assessing the situation (clear the scene if
• If necessary get back-up and call for help
• Identify yourself
• Address the problem behavior (do not get personal!)
• Remember to “choose to diffuse” (do not argue or get loud)
• Treat them with respect by listening and using “I” statements
• Make sure to follow up with student