The Resident Assistant (RA) is a full-time student who lives and interacts with their peers in a residence hall. The RA is a member of the Housing and Residence Life Staff and actively participates in the development of a comprehensive Residence Life program. The RA is appointed for a specific academic year. Individuals should not apply for or accept a position if they cannot commit to the entire academic year. Reappointment is contingent upon successful job performance, requisite academic progress, favorable supervisory review, and the on-going needs of the overall Residence Life system.
The RA position, due to its live-in nature, requires willingness to be called into service at any time of the day or night in order to meet students’ needs as they arise. The RA will function as a peer resource, mentor, and advisor to residents. Therefore, availability, consistency and interpersonal skills are of the utmost importance.
The RA is expected to serve as a role model and abide by all University and Housing policies. Furthermore, the RA is expected to adopt the goals of maintaining a safe, secure and comfortable living/learning environment. As a role model and a programmer, the RA is further fulfilling the University’s mission for education and service. The RA is expected to maintain high academic standards and continuing full-time student status.
I. COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND RESIDENT SUPPORT
The RA should facilitate the development of strong communities and well-rounded, involved community members. The successful RA will effectively and intentionally incorporate these concepts into their interactions with residents:
- Interact with each resident on a regular basis focusing conversations on the guiding principles
- Conduct hall/floor meetings throughout the year as determined by supervisor
- Build and maintain a relationship of trust with individual residents. Maintain objectivity, neutrality and confidentiality.
- Be aware of residents’ special circumstances (i.e., health concerns, peak stress times, emotional difficulties, academic problems, etc....)
- Be familiar with campus and community resources and make referrals as appropriate
- Encourage resident involvement and interactions within the community
- Lead residents in establishing community standards
- Promote community development through programming, policy enforcement and involvement
- Actively support the Aggies Think, Care, Act initiative
- Actively support the efforts of RHA and Area Council in programming and advocacy efforts
- Be mindful of creating a welcoming environment within the RA apartment/room and community common areas
Programming is an important tool for developing a strong community and providing involvement opportunities for residents. Our programming model focuses on the Guiding Principles of Residence Life which include personal growth, healthy lifestyles, social responsibility and academic support. With this in mind, RAs are required to coordinate all aspects of programming including the following:
- Submit a program approval form to the ProStaff at least one week in advance of the program
- Involve residents in the planning and execution of programs
- Link programming efforts to guiding principles and programming requirements
- Facilitate a Community Standards meeting several weeks into the semester to help residents contribute to the development of the community
- Program intentionally to the needs of the community based on assessment
- Create appropriate, effective advertising for programs and include Residence Life and Aggies Think, Care, Act logo as applicable
- Manage programming budget
- Cooperate with other groups who also organize programs in the residence halls, specifically RHA and Area Councils
- Support RHA and other campus offices and appropriate student organizations
- Complete a program report within 48 hours after the program
III. POLICY ENFORCEMENT
Policy enforcement is an important and powerful tool for developing a strong community and influencing the personal growth of individuals involved. RAs should focus on safety and student development as they go about enforcing policies as outlined below:
- Read and understand the Resident Handbook, Contract, Policies, Procedures and Philosophy
- Educate residents about policies and provide clarification as needed
- Enforce any and all policies being violated – be proactive in responding to hearsay violations
- Submit incident reports and any other relevant documentation within 24 hours of responding to a policy violation
- Maintain objectivity and strict confidentiality regarding student conduct issues
- Conduct follow-up as needed or per instructions of supervisor(s)
NOTE: The RA must be a role model within the residential system and adhere to these policies and procedures at all times. Any policy violation may be grounds for immediate dismissal.
***All University employees are considered “responsible employees” or “mandatory reporters” and are required to report any instances of sexual misconduct they become aware of under the requirements of Title IX.
IV. KEYS/ACCESS CARDS
An RA’s duties may necessitate the use of master keys. Proper use and protection of master keys is of the highest priority and all policies and guidelines for key use must be followed at all times:
- Master keys/cards must be kept secure at all times.
- RAs may never access a room for any person who is not the resident of the room. This includes relatives, significant others, or roommates.
- Master keys/cards may never be lent to another person, with the exclusion of fellow staff members in an emergency situation.
- The misuse of any Housing issued keys/cards may result in immediate termination of employment. This can include, but is not limited to, leaving keys/cards unattended in a public area, violating any of the policies stated above, losing the keys/cards, or allowing them to be stolen.
- Encoding cards or providing “loaner” keys for self or others without supervisor’s permission is an abuse of position and can result in disciplinary action, including termination.
- Any lost key must be reported to the supervisor immediately, or to the ProStaff on-call if after hours
- Approval to key-in to a room or apartment must be obtained from the supervisor, or the ProStaff on-call if after hours unless there is a perceived life-safety issue or damage to the facility if entry is delayed
The RA position is considered a part-time student position that requires 20 hours per week. Some weeks may require more time and others may require less time. RAs must be available several times throughout the year to participate in mandatory training sessions and on a weekly basis to attend regular staff meetings. They must also be readily available to their residents on a day-to- day basis. General availability expectations include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Be visible, available and approachable to residents; ie This means being in one’s room/apartment on a daily and regular basis (several hours per day not including sleeping time)
- Post availability hours for residents to see. Submit copies to supervisor(s)
- Maintain significant personal contact with all residents in their living area by visiting each room/apartment regularly
- Arrive early for training and administrative duties relative to semester opening and check-ins/Remain late each semester to assist with completion of all administrative tasks related to closings and check-out procedures (Extra time, effort and commitment is required during openings/closings, vacations/breaks and other peak times)
- Attend all required and scheduled staff meetings, training sessions, retreats and in-services
- Actively support and participate in housing-wide recruitment and selection activities as requested
- Work office and on-call duties as scheduled, including weekdays and weekends. Be available in the community at least two weekends per month, and other times as requested or scheduled
- Notify supervisor when gone overnight
- Residence Life must be considered the principal employer. Second jobs, odd jobs or part-time work are permissible only so long as they do not interfere with time, availability, and the efficiency of the RA job (It is suggested that 10 hours or less per week for a second job is a reasonable guideline)
- The University requires employees in part time positions at the University to work an average of 29 hours or less/week total across all University positions in order to meet Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements (Exceptions must be approved by the Director of Residence Life.)
VI. ADMINSTRATIVE DUTIES
The RA position includes several administrative duties associated with communication and documentation and are a critical part of the position. They include, but are not limited to the following:
- Submit Aggie Time weekly
- Weekly logs
- Resident interaction logs
- Program approval forms
- Program reports
- Incident reports
- Office coverage, rounds and on-call shifts
- Extra area of responsibility
- Conduct safety and cleaning inspections
- Change bulletin boards monthly
- Other duties as assigned
VII. FACILITY & EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
Facility assessment is an important role that the RA must fulfill in order to keep maintenance and damages to a minimum. Additionally, RAs will be expected to play a strong leadership role in training and responding to resident needs in emergency situations. Expectations of this role are as follows:
- Know and disseminate fire safety information and enforce regulations. Assist with fire drills within the first two weeks of each semester
- Establish positive working relationships with USU Police and Fire Marshals, other campus personnel and departments, and Housing maintenance, grounds, custodial crews and administrative staff
- Report, document and follow-up on safety violations, safety/security issues, building damages and maintenance problems
- During emergency or crisis events, as declared by the department leadership, all Residence Life staff may be activated and required to report to work for extended periods of time and may be assigned to work in capacities outside of their normal duties and area
VIII. DATING/ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS WITH RESIDENTS OR OTHER RESIDENCE LIFE STAFF MEMBERS
RAs are expected to represent the Department of Residence Life and USU in a professional manner at all times. This includes within their living community which is also their workplace. In order to protect residents and staff members alike from the perception of impropriety, the following rules apply to dating and romantic relationships within the residence halls:
- RAs are prohibited from dating any resident living within the community over which they are directly responsible
- RAs are discouraged from dating any resident living within the larger community where they work
- RAs are discouraged from dating another member of their immediate staff and if they choose to do so are strongly encouraged to notify their supervisor
- If job performance is negatively impacted by the dating relationship one, or both, staff members may be terminated
- University Policy 321: Respectful Workplace must be adhered to at all times
IX. POSSIBLE REASONS FOR TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT
An RA may be terminated for the following reasons:
- Inability or failure to perform job responsibilities
- Disregard of policies of Housing and Residence Life and /or the Student Code of Conduct
- Dating a resident who resides within the community over which they are directly responsible
- Misuse of Housing supplies, equipment or facilities
- Misuse of Housing issued keys and/or access cards
- Violation of student or staff confidence that impedes one’s ability to perform these stated job responsibilities or impedes other staff members’ ability to do the same
- Violation of University policy
- Violation of local, state or federal law
- Personal conduct resulting in an inability to maintain the trust and rapport of the students and staff needed to satisfactorily accomplish these stated job responsibilities
- Absence from campus for a period of 24 hours without supervisory approval
- Failure to maintain academic grade requirements
- Full-time USU Student Status
- All RA candidates and current RAs must be full-time USU students
- Full-time status is defined as 12 undergraduate credit hours per semester or 6 graduate credit hours per semester
- Student in Good Standing with University
- RA candidates and current RAs must maintain a 2.5 GPA. Two consecutive semesters of a GPA below 2.0 will affect continued employability or rehire status.
In its programs and activities, including in admissions and employment, Utah State University does not discriminate or tolerate discrimination, including harassment, based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, status as a protected veteran, or any other status protected by University policy, Title IX, or any other federal, state, or local law.
Utah State University is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate or tolerate discrimination including harassment in employment including in hiring, promotion, transfer, or termination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, status as a protected veteran, or any other status protected by University policy or any other federal, state, or local law.
Utah State University does not discriminate in its housing offerings and will treat all persons fairly and equally without regard to race, color, religion, sex, familial status, disability, national origin, source of income, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Additionally, the University endeavors to provide reasonable accommodations when necessary and to ensure equal access to qualified persons with disabilities.
The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the application of Title IX and its implementing regulations and/or USU’s non-discrimination policies:
Executive Director of the Office of Equity, Title IX Coordinator
Title IX Coordinator
Distance Education Rm. 401