Allison area coordinator will be 1st on S. Campus

Sheila Burt

Allison Hall in Fall Quarter will become the sixth dorm on campus to have its student residence hall coordinator replaced by a full-time, non-student staff member living in the dorm, University Residential Life officials said Friday.

Allison, which houses 355 students, is the first dorm on South Campus to switch from being overseen by an RHC to an area coordinator. The coordinators are staff members, usually in their mid-20s, with master degrees related to counseling and interaction with students.

Virginia Koch, assistant director of Residential Life, said the training area coordinators receive allows them to handle emergencies and discipline matters in residence halls more effectively than student RHCs.

“We’re going to offer improved services for students through (these staff members),” Koch said. “Typically, incidents happen in the middle of the night, and having a full-time staff member living in the building (increases) student benefits.”

RHCs refer student conduct issues to the residence hall’s area director. Under the new system, area coordinators will be responsible for overseeing all student conduct issues and also will work with dorm governments, Koch said.

Bobb and McCulloch halls, Foster-Walker Complex, Sargent Hall, Kemper Hall, Ayers College of Commerce and Industry and Slivka Residential College are under the supervision of area coordinators.

Next year an area coordinator will live in Kemper but will oversee both Kemper and Sargent, Koch said. A coordinator also will live in Slivka, overseeing Slivka and CCI. Sargent and CCI will have senior resident assistants who report to the area coordinators.

Koch said there is no pattern to the assignment of area coordinators, but a residence hall’s size can play a role.

“Allison is a large building, and it’s a lot to handle for an undergraduate or graduate student,” Koch said. “By having a full-time staff member, it’s much more manageable.”

Allison RHC Bridget Bush said there are benefits to having an area coordinator in the dorm due to its size. However, Bush questioned the comparability of senior RHCs and non-student area coordinators.

But Allison President Rahul Kalita said he worries an area coordinator could make organizing dormwide activities more difficult.

“It might be more uncomfortable,” said Kalita, a Weinberg freshman. “RHCs can see things on your level (whereas) adults don’t as well.”

Koch said most concerns are unfounded because area coordinators will know how to communicate with college students.

“The people who go into this field like working with college-aged students — that’s why they’re in higher education,” Koch said. “They believe in the residential life experience. I think they’re very committed to it.”

Weinberg junior Douglas Yamada said he never had contact with area coordinators while living in CCI and Bobb.

“I don’t know very many people who go (to area coordinators),” Yamada said.

Most students do not understand the responsibilities of RAs and RHCs, said Lisa Sandstrom, an RA in the Plex who also said she believes having a full-time member eliminates administrative stress for RHCs and RAs.

“There’s a ton of paper work,” said Sandstrom, a Weinberg senior “(RHCs) have the same responsibility and they’re also students.”

Little difference exists between the RHCs and area coordinators in terms of what rules they enforce, she added.

“It doesn’t change discipline,” Sandstrom said. “The rules are the rules.”