Res Life conduct hearings, write-ups down by almost half

By Katie Havranek

As of Nov. 11, the number of conduct incidents and individual write-ups has decreased by almost half since last year.”I credit the small number of incidents with the Community Learning Model,” Director of Campus Life Keith Edwards said. “Students are taking responsibility for their actions.”

Last year, 74 conduct incidents were reported, while this year, there have only been 52. Res Life reported 149 individual write-ups this year, which is down from the 288 write-ups reported last year.

There have been fewer large parties; only one with more than twelve people has been busted. Edwards explained that more students have been cooperative when questioned by the Resident Assistants, and in general students have dumped their alcohol, given their names and refrained from hiding in their rooms.

“I’ve never heard of anyone complaining about how an RA has handled a situation,” Ashley Campbell ’12 said, “Everyone feels that the RAs were justified.”

“That’s exactly what we want, we expect people to drink, but also to be held accountable and understand the consequences,” Edwards said. “It’s an important part of learning as a college student.”

Owen Rudloff ’10 said he has felt frustration with some of the treatment he has received from RAs.

“I’ve encountered several RAs,” he said, “who act as though it’s their god-given right to hand out extreme punishment where something far more lenient would be sufficient.”

While in the past the conduct board, composed of students, has convened multiple times throughout the year, this year the board has yet to meet. There has not been a need to have a meeting beyond the hall directors.

Edwards credits the small number of conduct incidents with the Community Learning Model, which he describes as a more thoughtful and intentional approach to enhancing resident life. He said that the RAs have a clear understanding of their role, which encourages better student-RA relations because students are aware of RA responsibilities.

Edwards said RAs were responsible for creating one-on-one relationships with their residents.

“It was one of the parts of the job that I was looking forward to, I’ve definitely formed relationships with most of my residents,” said Adam Van der Sluis ’11, a Bigelow RA.

“My RA didn’t want the first time she ever spoke with us to be during an emergency,” Campbell said, “and she wanted us to sign up with meeting times with her to create a basis for us to be comfortable going to talk to her.”

Edwards said that because ResLife has had to spend less time on serious conduct issues, more time has been spent on student well-being and mental health issues. First-year transition issues have been at the forefront of ResLife priorities. “With conduct being down, we’re doing a better job of working with students,” Edwards said.

Edwards pointed to the Community Learning Model and the dynamic of the first-year class as reasons for the high level of student participation dating back to orientation. He said the first-year community has been strong and that students have looked out for each other. In the four alcohol-related transports this year, an RA found only one of the students; students reported the other incidents.

“I think it’s based on the first-year class” said Campbell, in reference to the Community Learning Model. “My floor has always been very interested in getting close to the people we work with. From the beginning, we spent all our time together.”

While Campbell was unaware of what the Community Learning Model is, she noted that activities like the roommate agreement and one-on-one meeting with her RA have fostered the development of her floor community.

“I’d say the CLM has had something to do with lower incident rates, I don’t know if it’s the main reason,” Van der Sluis said. “Surprisingly, I might add.