Stop for a moment and ponder this proposition: what if ResLife were governed in the same fashion as Greek life?
Imagine that head residents were like the presidents of fraternities and sororities, and each building was the Head Resident’s organization.
If ResLife ruled its Resident Assistants the same way Greek Life structures, regulates and monitors fraternities and sororities, living in the dorms would be a vastly different scene.
On Gasparilla morning, a number of RAs made breakfast for their residents, to get the day started with food in their stomachs. Under Greek Life policies, this is a major violation of policy. Since the food was not prepared by a third-party vendor carrying a multi-million-dollar insurance policy, the RAs would have put the entire hall at risk by cooking food.
Next, let’s say two RAs get in trouble for an unsanctioned event, such as making 80 students write line after line about vandalism. As the event was unregistered and an embarrassment to the ResLife community, the entire building (and possibly the entire population of Resident Assistants) are placed on probation. They can’t go out together, host programs or have more than five RAs present at the same time. They also have to serve 150 hours of community service to get their rooms back.
If they get caught violating these sanctions, they lose the privilege of associating with any RAs at all. Don’t even start to think about what would happen if they wanted to consume alcohol around each other.
Of course, recruitment of new RAs is only open for a few weeks each year. There are strict requirements on how it’s done, and there is absolutely no “dirty recruitment,” where the head resident or area coordinator tries to persuade a potential RA to request their hall and floor instead of another building. If an HR or AC is caught doing this, they aren’t allowed to have any RAs next year, which sets up for a very bad situation.
And then there are the stereotypes to which the administration will try to turn a blind eye. Vaughn Center is filled with prissy, stuck up RAs, while McKay is all about the parties. Austin Hall is the laid back group, and Straz and Stadium Center always have a rivalry going. Urso Hall is the newest, and no one really knows what’s going on over there, but they seem to be getting along with the rest of campus so far. But it’s okay, because they’re all united under the guise of ResLife, not divided into cliques.
Finally, the student body is so fed up with their frustrations over ResLife that they petition that the entire system be disbanded.
Administrative boards are put together to determine the sanctions against the RAs and their secretive, self-protective groups. The boards don’t listen to what is said in the hearings because they know the RAs are all just lying to save themselves. They promptly disband ResLife altogether.
RAs and their overlords are not perfect. They make mistakes and get press for their misdeeds. But when it’s all over, they go back to ruling over the dorms with an iron fist.
Fraternities and sororities make policy mistakes, sometimes out of fear of registering an event the wrong way, sometimes thanks to not knowing the hundreds of random and conflicting policies, or sometimes out of plain stupidity.
And they end up looking like the scum of the sandy Tampa earth.