RAs prohibited from taking on elected positions in Student Life

On Monday, April 28 freshmen Emina Osmandžiković and Rend Beiruti were asked either to withdraw their candidacy for the last Student Government ...

May 10, 2014

On Monday, April 28 freshmen Emina Osmandžiković and Rend Beiruti were asked either to withdraw their candidacy for the last Student Government election or to resign from their job as RAs in the 2014-2015 academic year. This decision was based on the Office of Residential Education’s policy, which does not allow RAs to run for any elected position in any organization within the university.
In initial information sessions, prospective RAs are told that they are not allowed to run for student government. On this point, however, the contract is not as clear.
“When we first went to the first meeting, before we even applied, they said we can't run for student government but in the contract it doesn't say we can't do that,” said Beiruti, who is an RA for the 2014-2015 academic year.
Eric Johnson, chairman of the election commission, was scouting for candidates and approached some RAs to fill positions on the executive board.
“There’s … no mention of Student Government in the Residential Education contract,” Johnson said.
According to a statement issued by Residential Education, “Residential Education’s long-standing policy is clearly articulated during the information sessions that a Resident Assistant cannot serve in any elected position on campus.”
The RA contract states: “Participation in leadership positions and work experiences are an important part of one’s educational experience. However, since the RA position must be the primary out-of-class activity of those students who are selected, it is paramount that participation in aforementioned activities not be excessive in time required outside the hall and must not come in conflict with the RA position.”
Johnson said, “I think that, based on what's written [in the contract], there is a very strong argument that being a part of Student Government could benefit [from] your being an RA as well as being an RA could benefit Student Government.”
The statement from Residential Education also said, “We understand the amount of time and energy required serving on the executive board of Student Government.”
Beiruti said, “This [policy] is really to protect us, as there is too much on our plate.”
Johnson disagreed that RA time commitments would not allow one to be an effective member of the Executive Board.
“I personally don't feel that [over-commitment] is justified as an excuse to not allow RA to do what they wish,” Johnson said. “It’s been very difficult for me as a member of the election commission because we've had four or five potential candidates come forward saying they would like to do this, but [they] can't because [they’re] an RA.”
“I think they're right in doing this, I just [wish] they gave more of a reason instead of just saying you can't do it,” Beiruti said. Emina Osmandžiković chose not to comment.
Connor Pearce is opinion editor. Email him at
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