List of Demands and Expectations for Housing & Residence Life and Tulane University

List of Demands and Expectations for Housing & Residence Life and Tulane University

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Tulane RAs started this petition to Tulane University of Louisiana

We, the undersigned Resident Advisors of Tulane University's Housing & Residence Life, are tired of being mistreated, undervalued, and overworked. In the face of a global health pandemic, we would hope that Housing and Residence Life would be more committed to the overall well-being of residents and Resident Advisors; instead, we have seen neglect across the board. We drafted this list of demands because we have had enough of the treatment we have experienced during the Fall 2020 semester. We view this list as an opportunity to hold Tulane University's administration accountable for their actions in the hopes that Resident Advisors would be treated with the respect they deserve. Our concerns deserve to be validated. Moving forward, we hope these demands are addressed appropriately and immediately by the Tulane University administration, specifically Housing and Residence Life. If these demands are not met, we will have no other option but to strike.

Respect 
- The possibility of being fired from the RA role is often held over our heads to make us perform tasks that HRL requires. We are made to believe we are "easily replaceable" because there are always students wanting to be RAs. The fear-mongering tactics used by the HRL administration makes it nearly impossible to bring up concerns when we experience unjust conditions and policies. Due to fear of repercussion, RAs endure disrespect and mistreat because many RAs will not have a place to live or food to eat without this position. This behavior needs to stop. RAs should be able to reach out to HRL's administration with concerns without the fear of retribution.

- All RAs should be considered when it comes to HRL and Tulane administration introducing new policies and requirements that impact our roles directly. This is easily mitigatable through the use of the RA Council as a sounding board, but all RAs should have the final say in whether the new policy or requirement is beneficial or not (e.g., COVID-19 policies, guest policies, etc.). These decisions, such as the early return date for the spring, profoundly affect our personal lives; therefore, we feel it is reasonable to expect HRL to explain things, rather than ignore our concerns, regarding issues like our return date being moved up by 6-7 days and other issues that arise.  

- HRL needs to communicate about any changes to residence hall operations (e.g., the Sharp and Monroe quarantine) to RAs before informing residents. The residents look to us, their RAs, to answer questions when new information is provided. When we learn about new information simultaneously as residents, it is impossible for us to provide any additional insight or even offer emotional support when dealing with the shock. 

- The mental and physical health of RAs should be respected and  prioritized by HRL administration. The Fall 2020 semester demonstrated that concerns RAs bring up appear to be of little concern to the HRL administration. A track record of mistreatment will not be erased through minor changes, we need to see drastic change in the work and community culture with Housing and Residence Life. Policies, such as the no guest policy then reopening the guest policy then reimplementing the no guest policy severely impacts our social interactions and should be taken into consideration during decision making processes.

COVID-19 Policies
- RAs, and all Tulane students, should be informed of COVID-19 clusters within the residence halls they reside in moving forward. While this information is HIPAA protected, residents infected should be given an option to communicate with those they live near, much like contact tracing. Tulane's administration could also resolve this issue by categorizing COVID-19 data by residence hall, including off-campus residents, through the COVID-19 dashboard. Disseminating this information will allow RAs and residents to know when to be hyper-vigilant with safety precautions. It could also help deter policy violations and prevent the potential spread of COVID-19 through dorms. 

Flexibility in Spring 2021 Return Date 
- The original contract that RAs signed during Summer 2020 stated  that RAs would tentatively be returning to campus on January 13th. Although the contract stated this date was "tentative," RAs are now required to return to campus 6-7 days earlier than was initially stated, which is not feasible for all RAs. Furthermore, RAs asked for the return dates weeks before actually being informed, causing the price of flights to increase in the meantime, which is disrespectful of RAs' time and financial situations. Because HRL notified RAs late about the requirement to return to campus by January 7th, we are requesting that RAs be given the option of returning to campus at the original Spring 2021 RA return date, January 13th. 

Hazard Pay and Appropriate Compensation
- More than ever, with the increased risk of being a Resident Advisor during the COVID-19 pandemic, we deserve and demand extra compensation, in the form of an RA stipend and hazard pay, that mirrors the risk assumed by us (e.g., continually dealing with unmasked residents, addressing social distancing and COVID-19 policy violations, etc.).

- Many RAs are upperclassmen and often have cars. We believe it is appropriate that we receive compensation in the form of a free parking pass so that we can better accommodate our needs.

Improved RA Training 
- The RA training received in Fall 2020 was not nearly as comprehensive or informative as training in past years. New RAs have had to learn how to do the job while actually on duty or when dealing with incidents for the first time. This is not only emotionally distressing for RAs but unsafe for the residents if they cannot be provided the resources they need by RAs because the RAs are not appropriately trained. For this reason, in Spring 2021, we expect increased training that will allow RAs to do their jobs effectively, including, but not limited to, Behind Closed Doors (BCDs) and how to appropriately address Title IX issues, aggressive residents, mental health scenarios, etc.

Meal Plan Diversity
- The current meal plan offered to RAs is limiting and does not fully encompass the dietary needs of all RAs. Therefore, Housing and Residence Life should offer a diversity of meal plan options for RAs to choose from (e.g., option for limited meal swipes per week with additional wave bucks to compensate, etc.). This option should be available for RAs to opt-in to by the Spring 2021 meal plan deadline.

RA Curriculum Requirements and Consistency
- Introducing new RA curriculum requirements during a pandemic was a poor decision that makes a stressful semester even more overloading. We propose that during the Spring 2021 semester that RAs complete RA office hours via zoom rather than the required curriculum components, which puts RAs at a heightened risk for contracting COVID-19, especially since they emphasize face-to-face interactions.

- There are large discrepancies in the RA responsibilities across residence halls, and we expect HRL administration to reevaluate the current RA curriculum requirements (i.e., community builders, intentional conversations, and check-ins) with the intention of creating a more fair and doable workload for RAs across all residence halls. We expect consistency in expectations and to not be overworked to meet a quantity quota while we as RAs suffer.

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