2011 Bryan Graduate
As the readers of this article may or may not be aware, I’m an alumnus of Bryan College. I graduated just last year, and am intimately familiar with the way life works on the Hill. I’m writing this in response to a recent editorial I stumbled upon while browsing the Triangle website this week entitled “RAs crossing the line.”
The editor believes that the RAs have no “God-given right to act as her superior or to scold her.” That may be true, but God did not give the resident directors, her professors or Mr. Carpenter (the faculty adviser for this newspaper) the right to act as her superior either. Instead, she gave them that right.
When she registered to be a student, she gave all those with positions of authority in the school the right to tell her how to behave and to discipline her within their realms of authority. Discipline is a responsibility of the Office of Student Life. They selected both the resident assistants called into question in the editorial as representatives entrusted with enforcement of the rules outlined in the Student Life Handbook.
Concerning the editor’s personal doubt that the RAs showed Christ’s love in their reaction to the dress code infraction, I wonder if the students who broke the rule showed Christ’s love either. It takes two parties for a situation to escalate, after all. If we fault one, we must fault the other.
On page 32 of the Student Handbook, it states “shorts… are not permitted” for chapel and “all classes, day and evening, and [in] all administrative buildings during business hours.” While the situation could obviously have been handled better, these two RAs were just doing what they were supposed to do, and it’s the duty of the student body to respect that.
The fact that Luke and John were asked to leave immediately and change immediately is not an outrage, but perfectly fair. On page 30 of the Student Handbook, it clearly states, “When a student chooses to dress inappropriately and is asked to change, immediate cooperation will be expected.” Simply “taking the points” and going on their way was not an option, and the RA was justified in pursuing them. While I’m at it, John, when a “grown man” breaks a rule, he coolly bears the deserved reprimand rather than pitching a fit.
Cat, I’m sorry that you were surprised by the rules being enforced by your peers here at Bryan. You’re right; there is nothing about RAs filling that role in the handbook, per se. It does say that resident assistants are charged with supervision of residence halls, strict room, etc. Something more descriptive in the handbook would indeed be beneficial. But when you say that you “never agreed to that,” you’re wrong. When you agreed to return your second semester, after having witnessed the way things were, you wittingly agreed to give them that right.
Cat makes a point of mentioning that the RAs are her peers. Indeed, they are students, just like her. It’s important to remember that when we’re holding them to a high standard.
They’ve been given a big responsibility that isn’t always fun, and while they’re well equipped for the task (else they wouldn’t have been accepted as RAs), they’re human. It’s unfair to them to expect perfection. Like the rest of you, they have bad days, stress over school and friendships, and can be hurt by judgmental editorials. In spite of this, while I was at Bryan, I was continually impressed with the maturity of the RAs and their ability to lovingly keep all of us rowdy students in line without killing our fun.
Granted, a system of accountability for RAs is necessary. There was an RA in my time who always wore short skirts, for instance. I brought it to the attention of another RA, her friend, who took care of the situation. However, having an external method of voicing concerns could be beneficial for them.
The resident assistants are a valuable and treasured part of the Bryan community. They’ve proven themselves to be dependable and worthy of respect. To all the current RAs, I appreciate your willingness to be the “bad guy” when someone steps out of line and for devoting yourself full-time to serving your fellow students and your college.
Tags: authority, Bryan College, Bryan community, Cat Rogers, Christ, Discipline, faculty, God, John Carpenter, Office of Student Life, RA system, Resident Assistants, Rights, Rob Franklin, Student Life Handbook