Not speaking in any official capacity for the office of Residential Education and Housing (ResEd), I would like to offer a reaction to last week’s opinion by Jessica Mickley. She is missing a few critical points behind why student staffers in ResEd are taught to make everyone go to their own rooms if they’re not involved in documentation.
If you are not involved, you have no right to know what’s going on unless your safety is at stake, and if it is, the only information you have a right to is what you need to do to stay safe – not why the incident has taken place or who is involved.
The person who may or may not be in trouble or hurt has a right to privacy, and whatever is happening to them is no one’s business but theirs and the people hired to take care of the situation. Standing around trying to watch what’s going on is neither respectful nor mindful of the situation. If you were the person being arrested, transported or whatever the case might be, how would you feel about people coming out of their rooms to watch? It’s nobody’s business, and it’s disrespectful to everyone involved.
The bottom line here is you may be however-many years old and able to make your own responsible decisions, but you do not live in an apartment building in the real world where it’s completely up to you to assess whether a situation is dangerous or not. You chose to live in a dormitory on a college campus staffed by Community Advisors (CAs) who are trained to make sure you are safe and that everyone’s privacy is protected, especially when they know that an incident is occurring.
Every CA is trained in crisis management. They spend a month of their summers each year working from early morning until late at night, learning how to handle situations while everyone else – whatever their age or transfer status may be – is at home still on their summer vacation. So if you see something happening and a CA tells you to get back in your room, go back to your room.
If you really think there’s still a problem, call Campus Police or the hall office and express your concern. You can ask the student staff in the office to call professional staff about the situation if they aren’t already responding to it.
Hall office student staff members are not allowed to give out professional staffers’ extensions and they cannot promise that professional staff will contact you. They can, however, pass on a message saying you’ve requested to be contacted.
Professional staff members have your safety in mind first. If you doubt that, keep in mind that this is their career, and their job description is working all day every day and most nights for your well-being and development while you’re at the College.
If something is seriously wrong, they will take care of it. If not, you have nothing to worry about, and you have no reason to be in the hallway. If you honestly still feel that you are not safe, no one is stopping you from visiting your own CA to talk, or from leaving your dorm for the night.
ResEd staff did exactly what they were supposed to that evening. Try to keep this in mind if a CA or other ResEd staffer asks you to return to your room. It’s for your own safety and the privacy of others.