In an average year, residential advisors (R.A.s) play a critical role in university life. Being an R.A.s. offers students the opportunity for: campus leadership roles, making new friends, receiving tuition or room and board discounts, and being critical to many university life programs. Typical duties for an R.A. can include helping a new student navigate campus, ensuring student safety, creating campus-wide engagement programs, being that welcoming face for a first-year student, and the list goes on. These students leaders this year have another duty to add: enforcement of COVID-19 preventative measures across the country. Now, on their nightly “rounds” within their buildings and campuses, R.A.s have to note COVID-19 misconduct, playing a critical student leadership role to help maintain campus safety and community as they always have.
As reported in the New York Times, R.A.s are facing unprecedented circumstances on how to respond to normal student violations such as what happens when a student comes back from an off-campus event without their mask or enforcing social distancing. R.A.s not only have to protect the students, their floors, but also themselves. Enforcing these measures across campus is incredibly challenging. Across the country, R.A.s have spoken up to administration, even at Cornell going on strike just days before students were expected to move in (University officials met the demands of the R.A.s 24 hours into the strike).
What is critical for university administrators in student conduct and residential life is tracking, transparency, and support. And, as more and more universities institute student code violations regarding COVID-19, student conduct offices and residential life offices will have to be in constant communication as they navigate how to tackle 17-22 year olds behavior. The best way to support R.A.s is by giving them the tools they need to protect themselves and other students on campus.
With Symplicity’s Advocate, all campus leaders can be on the same page and be empowered to know they’re doing everything they possibly can to ensure student safety in the dorms and across campus. Using Advocate, universities can tackle COVID-19 student conduct violations all-within one platform where campus leaders are quickly alerted. Should an R.A. file a report about a student in a hallway unmasked, or have to break up a party, student information can easily be looked up and handled by the appropriate campus partners and violations can be assessed accordingly. Campus leaders can easily track students who are consistently violating their campus’ COVID-19 policies and R.A.s can feel supported with accurate reporting.