RAs deliver petition demanding greater protection and transparency
Yesterday, Resident Assistants Stefano Bortoletto (COL ’15), Jessica Rempe (SFS’15), Camille Squires (COL ’15), and Caitriona Pagni (SFS ’16) [Full disclosure: Caitriona Pagni is managing editor of the Voice.] delivered a list of demands to Senior Vice President Christopher Augostini and Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Todd Olson.
This petition was created in response to the recent allegations brought forward by RAs in the Georgetown campus community. In the document, the 2014-2015 RAs call for departmental reform and improvements in public safety and protection for student employees. The list of demands includes an external review board, clarity and transparency, Resident Assistant position conditions of appointment, training on RA rights, ombudsman, amendment procedure for the RA contract, financial aid education, and summer RA protection.
According to Rempe, although the RAs are willing to work with the Office of Residential Living, some of the demands are outside of the ORL’s domain. These include an external review board of all student employment and clarity on what resources exist for RAs as university employees.
As of now, a specific timeline has not yet been established, but the ORL and other administrators appeared to be receptive to the RAs’ demands. “The administration was very cordial, and Mr. Augostini assured us that we should hear back before our deadline, December 16th,” Rempe told Vox.
In the short term, Rempe says she hopes that the transparency the petition seeks will be offered for the Resident Assistant role. “I know that the contracts for the RAs for next year will be released early next semester, and I would hope that every new and returning RA will know exactly what resources and rights they have as an RA,” she said.
“For example, last year, our Conditions of Appointment were released without our Confidentiality Agreement that we did not see until RA training which is over six months later,” Rempe said. “As our position as RAs is contingent upon signing both, this is just poor legal practice, especially since we are not given a copy of our signed papers.”
Rempe says that the broader goal of the petition is to shed light on not only issues that RAs face, but those that all student employees are confronted with through an external review board. “I believe a lot of the systems and policies in place are old and they are showing signs of wear,” she said.
“We are a Jesuit university with values such as ‘Cura Personalis’ and ‘Men and Women for Others’,” Rempe told Vox. “These RA narratives obligate us to call upon these values and at its very core, this petition exemplifies these values. We want to help build system for ourselves and future RAs that not only is clearly understood by all, but also cares for the RAs wholistically.”
Photo: Caitriona Pagni/The Georgetown Voice