New Changes to Residential Advisor System

By Jacqueline Loh 22

A new set of changes have been installed to Scripps College’s Resident Advisor (RA) system for the 2018-2019 academic year. Changes include downsizing the number of RAs and adding the Community Coordinator (CC) position. These changes come two years after the passing of Scripps RA Tatissa Zunguze and a series of RA strikes the following month.  “Some of the feedback we received during the strike was that the former configuration of the RA role was too demanding,” Carolyn Robles, Interim Executive Director of Marketing and Communications, said.

The RA role was revised and some of its responsibilities reduced. For example, RAs are now limited to “no more than four [on call] weekends a semester and will be paired with one other RA during the rotation” according the official RA job description. According to Media and Communications, “many of the former responsibilities of the role [were] removed in order to ensure RAs can balance their role with the demands of their academic schedule.” The Residential Life team set a new goal of fostering community at Scripps. “The changes are also the result of our commitment to a vibrant student residential community in which all students feel connected and engaged,” Media and Communications added.

RA duties have been modified as well, now with a greater emphasis on community building. According to Media and Communications, this is an added “mentorship component allowing RAs a more formal role in the mentorship of other student staff in Residential Life.” This is intended to cultivate greater connectivity between RA staff and students.

The RA staff was significantly downsized. This year, there are only six RAs, while in previous years each hall had multiple RAs working together. “Unlike previous years, the RA role is limited to juniors and seniors,” Media and Communications added.

Residential Life added the CC position to work in tandem with RAs. According to Media and Communications, CCs and RAs will collaborate to “focus on community engagement and connectedness through programming and social interactions.” The time commitment for the CC role is significantly less than the commitment required by RAs. According to official job descriptions, the time commitment anticipated for the RA and CC job position is 15 hours per week and 15 hours per month respectively. The addition of the CC position allows the College to hire additional student leaders and encourages more students to become engaged in the residential community. “This helps ensure an inclusive and diverse Res Life team,” Media and Communications commented, “Ultimately, the new structure facilitate[s] a thriving residential space where students have many options to find community.”

Official policy enforcement will be handled by professional staff of Campus Life. This is intended to assist RAs and CCs when they encounter unfamiliar situations and require additional support. This change is intended to allow “students […] to develop their own community standards and expectations of one another that should ultimately require less assistance from the Campus Life staff,” Media and Communications said.

RAs are still required to conduct walkthroughs through halls. This is aimed to increase support for students and strengthen a sense of community. According to Media and Communications, the new residential life structure “[ensures] students have multiple touch points to inquire about resources.”

No current RAs were available for comment.

The residential life program will be evaluated annually, with adjustments added as needed based on student, staff, and campus partner feedback.