All residence hall policy violations MUSTbe documented for the following reasons: 1. Education cannot take place unless the same message is consistently reinforced (i.e., over and over again a student learns it is not okay to yell down the hallway at 3:00 am). 2. In order to treat all students fairly, all residents must be confronted and held accountable for the same policies. If one resident is put on Residence Life Probation because it is the third time he has staggered into the residence hall drunk and created a disruption, and another student is ignored during his drunken stupor, it is unfair, and the first student will let us know about it. 3. No RA wants to be the only one doing his/her job. – Not being consistent makes it harder on your fellow RAs who are doing their job.
Communicate with your supervisor and/or professional staff in an appropriate and professional manner about frustrations you may have in dealing with residents, sanctions, etc., you may think inappropriate. These concerns should NEVER be shared with other residents or RAs. RAs ARE CONFRONTERS AND EDUCATORS It is expected that RAs appropriately confront and document all policy violations they witness in the residence halls and housing areas. Appropriate confrontation includes: assertiveness, calmness, confidentiality, and respect for the individual(s) violating policy.
First, the RA asks the resident to please stop the inappropriate behavior. The RA is educating by not allowing disruptive, illegal, or community damaging behavior to continue. Through the initial confrontation, the RA is stating that the behavior is not appropriate and is not permitted in the residence hall community.
Secondly, the RA explains the University or Residence Life policy that is being violated. In this manner, the RA is restating the policy in case the resident has never heard it, or in case the resident’s memory needs to be refreshed. The RA is re-teaching the policy.
Third, the resident should be told that the situation will be documented and learn what consequences will follow if the behavior continues. For example, if an RA has confronted a resident for a second time in the same evening for a violation of quiet hours, the RA might say, “if it becomes necessary for me to ask you to be quiet again, I am going to have to contact my supervisor and/or Campus Safety.”
EFFECTIVE CONFRONTATION: HOW TO GUIDE BEFORE YOU CONFRONT: 1. Show a genuine interest in your residents 2. Maintain visibility; visit in residents' rooms 3. Avoid showing partiality to groups of residents 4. Program, program, program .... to provide residents something positive to do with their time, and so that they can observe you a "fun" role 5. Give residents the opportunity to see you in roles other than that of a policy enforcer (i.e. listener, role model, helper, resource, student) 6. Let residents know you are willing to listen to them 7. NEVER openly discuss policies you disagree with in the presence of your residents 8. Be clear with your residents regarding policies and procedures. Post signs and hold floor meetings. 9. Encourage your residents to always take responsibility for their behaviors. 10. Separate your role as a policy enforcer from you as a person. Do not allow verbal attacks or what your residents do to hurt you personally. Residents do not always appreciate being held accountable.
WHEN CONFRONTING: 1. If entering a room, knock loudly & identify yourself as an RA, even if they know you! If in a public space, still identify yourself as an RA! 2. Describe your reason for being there and calmly and confidently explain that you need to enter the room. For example "we need to come in and discuss the noise coming from your room." This allows the students to know why you knocked (the noise level) and it lets them know that you want to enter the room. 3. Eliminate distractions. Ask residents to turn off (not down) the stereo/tv/etc. Ask for everyone's attention. Don't debate these points. You need a quiet place to operate and you need their attention. 4. Re-introduce yourself and describe again why you are there. Make a statement like this "My name is Bill and this is Mary. We are the RAs and when we were walking by on rounds, we heard what sounded like someone playing pong. Someone said "chug it!" so we have to stop in and see what's going on. I can see this room does not have a Wet Room Contract posted on the refrigerator so alcohol is not allowed and drinking games are not allowed in any case." 5. Do a visual search. If you don't see any policy violations & if there is reason you may ask residents to open cabinets/ the refrigerator or freezer/bedrooms or bathrooms to confirm there are no policy violations or other issues (ex: if it looks like they were playing beer pong check the kitchen areas or if it sounded like more people were present than are visible you could ask to check the rooms/cabinets) 6. Do not touch anything or anyone. Do not turn off the stereo, do not open drawers or doors, do not touch policy violations. DO NOT TOUCH! 7. Gather information. Collect the IDs (student, drivers license, anything they have on them) and information about what happened. If there was an active policy violation (beer pong for example) ask everyone individually if they played the game and ask everyone individually if they consumed alcohol. If there are non-students present ask who they are visiting. If someone does "not have an ID" ask for their room key. If they have nothing quietly ask others to the side to identify that individual. 8. Explain policy and consequences. In this instance, explain that underage possession and consumption of alcohol are against policy and state law and that drinking without a wet room contract is in violation of a wet room contract and drinking games are against University policy. Focus on the behavior that is wrong and not the people -assume everyone is a good person who has just made a poor decision. Let them know you will be writing an incident report and documenting everything that happened. If they were cooperative, thank them and let them know you will be including that information. Let them know from here professional staff will be determining the next step which may include an email from professional staff to their student email account requesting a hearing to discuss the incident individually with the resident. 9. Do not argue with residents. If they argue policy, their behavior, or the documentation refer them to professional staff and the Residence Life office. 10. End the policy violation. If they have alcohol the residents should be observed dumping it out and then staff should walk with residents to dispose of the empties. The beer pong area should be disabled. If items need to be confiscated (purchased beer pong table, stolen street signs or University property, etc.) have residents take those items to the nearest lock-out closet for storage. Residents will have to go through professional staff to retrieve those items. 11. Respond to questions. If residents have nonsensical questions, or are using sarcasm or abuse ignore it or respectfully request they stop and be sure to add it to your incident report later. Do not give opinions or make light of the situation. Do not give advice. Do not make promises. NOTE: it is completely acceptable to ask off-campus guests involved in the policy violation to leave campus. Residence Life Professional Staff reserve the right to tresspass guests as necessary based on their behaviors. 12. Document the incident on the JAMS website before 10am the following day. Be sure to include all the information you gathered and to use direct quotations when possible. If you confront a situation with another staff member write the report together. 12. Follow-up. Give residents the option to stop in and see you later if they have further questions. Let them know you still value your RA/resident relationship. Discuss upcoming programs or other events to show that you still think they are a good person and are not judging them based on their behaviors in this incident. This usually helps relieve any tension that the situation has caused and allows you to establish/maintain open lines of communication.
WHAT IF RESIDENTS WON'T OPEN THEIR DOOR WHEN YOU KNOCK BUT ARE IN THE ROOM? · Knock repeatedly three times (5-10 second pauses in between rounds of knocking) -don't "pound" · Announce yourself after the third knock and let the occupants know you heard them and need them to open the door or you will have to get professional staff/campus safety involved · Don't make idle threats! If they don't comply, do call professional staff/campus safety · If there are two of you confronting send one RA around to watch the window/other escape routes while the other RA stays at the door makes the calls · Wait until back-up arrives OR the residents open the door; then follow the protocols above
WHAT IF THEY RUN AWAY OR ATTACK? · If they run away- let them. Get out of the way so they don't bowl you over! You can get their information later from other residents present · If they attack or you feel like they might attack -get away! Escape! In any situation we want to minimize victims -that includes you!
WHEN NOT TO CONFRONT: · When confrontation will physically endanger you · When illegal substances are present · IN BOTH OF THESE SITUATIONS, PROFESSIONAL STAFF AND CAMPUS SAFETY SHOULD BE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED, THEY WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH FURTHER PROTOCOL UNTIL THEY ARRIVE
OTHER ADVICE · Be careful in your use of language. Using phrases such as “stupid”, or “what were you thinking?” even in joking can turn a situation sour quickly. · Use a strong tone. Do not ask, state your expectations (ex: not "would you please pour out the beer" instead "I need you to pour out the beer") · If residents ask if you are "writing them up" explain that you are documenting the incident but that only professional staff have the ability to decide if behaviors warrent a hearing or sanctions. · If possible, confront individuals in such a way that they are not embarassed in front of peers. · Avoid the use of stereotypes and generalizations. Do not "typecast" based on previous behaviors. · Be familiar with University and Residence Life policies and the rationale behind them. State specifically the policy to which you are referring. · Be CONSISTENT!! · If you are not sure of what to do or need back-up CALL ... another RA, the RAD or Professional Staff on duty and/or Campus Safety.