Resident Advisors, commonly known as RAs, play an instrumental role in a student’s experience at UNC. All first-years must live on campus, and RAs facilitate much of a first-year’s adjustment to college life. Beyond the role they play for students, their staffing of the housing system undoubtedly saves the University money and helps ensure student housing is affordable for students. For their commitment to UNC, they should be treated with respect.
Seven RAs were fired for violating the University's alcohol policy, as reported in last Wednesday's newspaper. They were caught in a limbo for weeks, unsure if they could keep their jobs. Their trial was lacking transparency and fairness and is a disgraceful shame.
The firing of these students should be reviewed by staff at UNC and should initiate the creation of a formal review process for instances in which RAs are accused of violating their contract as employees. A job that entails compensation, housing and partial control of a person’s life should have a clear, fair and transparent processes for termination. After the publishing of the article Wednesday that summarized the situation, it seems clear that Carolina Housing mistreated these students throughout the process of determining what happened, mishandled the opportunity for appeal by the students and established a unforgiving stance on mistakes that is unfair given the role of an RA at UNC.
Students were told to be truthful throughout the discovery process of determining the facts of the situation, yet this honesty was used to punish those who told the truth, while staff at Carolina Housing lied about matters like who would become aware of the information and who would be making decisions. Not only does this deter students from telling the truth in the future, but it is an unfair and unnecessary double standard. Students were expected to hang themselves out to dry while staff skirted the truth to preserve their own interests — whatever those may have been.
Carolina Housing also encouraged RAs to be, at least partially, dishonest to their residents by having RAs tell residents that they were “taking a hiatus,” another confusing promotion of misinformation that negatively impacted RAs and their residents. It is baffling and nonsensical that these RAs were fired for safety reasons, yet strung along in their review process long enough so that the housing staff could have these same RAs as essential labor on Halloween, a night plagued with legitimate safety concerns for students.