RAs left unsure or unemployed

An ambiguous Resident Assistant selection process made for unpredictable hiccups.


Anothony Risso
Drew Hall is home to about 200 of Hamline’s on campus residents.

Anika Besst, Senior Reporter

Selections for the student leadership role of Resident Assistant (RA) were announced on March 3, 2021. The selection experienced changes both planned and unexpected. The largest change is the number of RAs selected was smaller than in years past. 

Undisclosed and unknown until recently, a residence hall may be under renovations next year. This means they were selecting fewer than the usual 27 positions. 

“There are conversations about the possibility of doing some work in one of the residence halls,” said Javier Gutierrez, Associate Dean of Students. “We have not been told which hall and once we are able to share out, we will absolutely share the nature of this plan.” 

Assistant Director of Residential Life Yolanda Armstrong describes this as leaving the office in “limbo,” as almost everyone is still waiting to hear their housing assignments for next year.  

Residential Life had 46 new applicants and 15 returners apply for an RA position. The final numbers of how many new and returning RAs were selected have not been announced as they are still waiting on student confirmation. 

“According to the Area Coordinators (AC) it was an extremely, extremely, extremely impressive set of students and it was difficult to make the decisions that they made,” Armstrong said. 

Due to the powerful turnout, the AC have decided to create and use a formalized alternate list. This was offered before but has been made more specific to allow for those who were not selected to still be in the possible line up if something were to happen with another position and they were still interested. Res Life uses this list when an RA cannot continue their job at any point in the summer or academic year for any reason whether it be transferring, an emergency or anything else.  

One current sophomore RA who applied for next year and was not rehired is not interested in being on that list for a few reasons. One of which includes that they can no longer live on campus due to the financial loss not being an RA creates. 

“[The list] only really works if you live on campus. I will be signing a lease so I can’t do that. I can’t just walk away from a lease two weeks before school or halfway through the semester,” they said. “I just have to completely step away from this basically and just find housing somewhere else.”

Additionally, they were unhappy with how the entire experience was conducted and the lack of communication throughout. 

“I got some clarity the past couple days that they had to look at everyone’s performance from the moment your AC met you, not just if you had any coaching sessions or your programming or anything. But being told that after the fact seems sort of like it is a judgement of character more than work, especially if I didn’t get a formal coaching session or others didn’t,” they said. “Saying that and having to judge everything you have done up until this point seems more like ‘who do I want to work with,’ ‘who am I better friends with.’ Because it’s not really treated like a ‘job’ job, it is treated like a team, but then when it comes down to being rehired they don’t tell you they are going to treat it like a ‘job’ job.”

Coaching sessions were implemented this year as an optional way for AC to provide feedback and guidance to RAs about situations and matters. Prior to this year, an RA would have been released from their role without any coaching sessions on file. Armstrong encourages and supports applicants not accepted to reach out for feedback on how they did regardless of the existence of coaching sessions or not. 

“I don’t know if I want to work for Res Life anymore with how disjointed it is really,” said the previously mentioned sophomore. “Why the secrecy? I don’t know why they choose to keep some things completely professionally detached but then act like it is one big family and you can trust each other but it is just very secretive.”

Anothony Risso
Manor Hall is the oldest residence hall on campus, and also houses a variety of campus resources in the basement.

The offices that deal with the leadership positions and selections have made the decision to inform students during this phase of the semester. They believe it allows students ample time to make decisions for their summers and next academic years. 

First year Kue Thao was planning to transfer had it not been for being selected to the RA position. 

“I was going to go to Minnesota State University Mankato and get an apartment there with my sister and my brother, and attend the same university which would make it easier for us financially,” Thao said. “Getting the RA position helps with the financial factor of tuition a lot.” 

With any questions or concerns regarding RA selection, the office is located in West Hall 110 with the phone: (651) 523-2061 and email: reslife@hamline.edu.