Residential hall members quit after term extension

Lauren Mogannam

Former Allison Hall President Corinne Ellis said she was shocked when the Residence Hall Association informed members of the residence hall governments that Northwestern would postpone their elections, typically held in March. Now they will be held the third week of Fall Quarter, extending her term until the end of the year.

In response, she quit.

RHA informed hall government members of the change at the end of Winter Quarter, prompting many students, including all seven Allison executive board members, to step down, the Weinberg sophomore said.

“It made us frustrated because a lot of us had taken on other leadership positions,” Ellis said. “I don’t think any of us would have had an issue if we would have been able to plan for it.”

Residential colleges, governed by the Residential College Board, will not be affected by the change.

Moving the elections to Fall Quarter “was the best decision for everyone involved,” said RHA adviser Trelana Daniel.

Halls that already had elections in the fall, such as the Freshman Quad, will no longer be at a disadvantage, she said.

“There is now no preferential treatment,” Daniel said. “All will go through a leadership conference and president’s retreat.”

But some students said RHA’s reasons for the change were vague.

Former RHA Secretary Kevin Lu said he heard various explanations for the change, including a desire to avoid giving senior priority housing numbers to more than 50 students. Previously, students who agreed to be on residence hall governments were given a senior priority number.

“The Administration feels that the incentive for people to live in (certain dorms) trumps getting qualified candidates,” the Weinberg sophomore said.

The new rules will not affect the RHA Executive Board. The elections for the eight executive members will continue to be held in Winter Quarter and senior priority numbers will still be given to the eight executive board members, Lu said.

Current and former members of RHA said they are concerned that the changes will have a negative impact.

With elections in the fall, many freshmen could win, said Candise Hill, the current president of South Mid-Quads and newly-elected RHA vice president.

“Freshmen will now tend to be on hall governments,” the SESP sophomore said. “Their lack of experience is definitely a concern.”

The change will affect Allison’s programming because the new government plans New Student Week events and the residence hall formal in April, Ellis said. Community Assistants now have to take over duties of hall government members who resigned, she said.

“The CAs have been good in taking over our duties,” she said. “It is a big burden on the CAs and area coordinator to do though, because it is not what their jobs entail.”

Kathy Luo, the Senior CA for the Public Affairs Residential College and Allison, said although RHA has been helping with the transition, the first week back has been stressful.

“It wasn’t until I had to plan munchies that I realized that it is kind of tough,” the Weinberg senior said. “I had no idea how many people I had to order for or how to use the listserv.”

Lu said because the changes were made abruptly, there was bound to be dissatisfaction.

“Either way, the administration knew they were going to implement this and were going to screw over one year,” he said. “It was a trade-off they were willing to take for perceivable benefits in the long run.”

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