What is a resident assistant?
A resident assistant (RA) is an undergraduate student residing within the residence halls under the direct supervision of a professional live-in staff member (Coordinator/Assistant Coordinator). RAs are responsible for maintaining the safety and security of students living in the residence halls as well as working with professional staff to create healthy living-learning environments that promote student growth and development.
RAs are community builders, academic and personal resource providers, conflict mediators, policy enforcers, role models, leaders, crisis responders, and more. They are usually the first contact for residents and act as a liaison between residents and professional staff.
One RA per residence hall is on duty each night from 8:00 p.m.–7:00 a.m. when residence halls are occupied. During this time, RAs periodically walk throughout the residence halls to support residents with personal and academic concerns, address maintenance problems or policy violations, and monitor the safety and security of each building. If residents need assistance, they should contact the RA on duty, whose name and number are posted in each residence hall lobby, as well as outside each RA’s door.
What is a residence life coordinator?
A residence life coordinator (RLC) is a full-time professional staff member who lives in the residence halls. They are here to supervise and assist the RA staff. They have a master’s degree and are trained to address issues and crises within the residence halls.
Coordinators serve as another resource for students to express concerns and ask questions. They assist with programs for the buildings, meet with students who violate residence hall or university policies, and meet with students who have roommate and other concerns.
Coordinators are also available to assist students and RAs through 24/7 duty rotation similar to the RA staff.
What should a student do if they potentially violate a residence life or university policy and are referred for student conduct?
If a student is believed to potentially be in violation of a policy, a residence life staff member (either a RA or professional staff member) will address the situation, talk about the potential violation, and talk to them about the next steps. If a staff member comes to a student’s door, they will knock and announce themself. The student should open their door and cooperate with the staff member by following their directives, including fully opening the door and providing their Penn State ID card. Uncooperative behavior may result in further professional staff and/or police being called for assistance.
Receiving a referral does not automatically mean a student is in violation of the Code of Conduct. Rather. there is potentially a violation that occurred. Each student referred will have an individual conduct conference with a professional staff member to discuss the situation and potential violation. Students who are referred for student conduct are encouraged to check their Penn State email for further information regarding their meeting.
More information on the student conduct process can be found on the Penn State Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Response site.