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The False RA Intimidation Narrative

Caitlin Carney, Staff Writer

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In August 2016, I received my housing assignment for the fall semester at the University of New Haven. I discovered that I would be living in Bergami Hall and sharing a suite with one of the Resident Assistants. When I first told people this I was often met with an “aw, that’s awful” or “I’m so sorry.” I never understood why.

Now, after living in Bergami for nearly 6 months, I still do not understand the apologies I received. I personally love my suitemate RA as well as the other RAs in my building.

The RA that I share my suite with is honestly one of the best people I have met at this school. She is not some scary authority figure to me – she is a real human being who has a job to keep me safe. Our relationship is not the kind of relationship I expected to have when everyone was apologizing to me for living with her. Instead, we brush our teeth together, sometimes even in each other’s rooms. She will burst into my room just to talk to me about something that happened on Gilmore Girls. We share snacks and stories of our day. We share responsibilities to keep our bathroom clean. In the simplest terms, we are friends.

I do not only have this experience with my RA because I feel as though I am friends with just about every RA in my building. I have seen my RAs get cursed at by angry residents who do not want to follow the rules. I have seen my RAs genuinely worry about their residents leaving the building on a Thursday night (to likely make some bad decisions). I have seen them exhausted by the late hours on duty, but I have never seen them give up. Every single one of them continues to do their job and give 110% no matter how difficult it can be at times. And this is how I know that they truly care. When I come back from a long day and I stop at the duty desk, they let me. They listen to me and try to help me. I have had RAs help me with problems ranging from writing a resume, to more important life decisions, or simply just helping me get over a bad day.

When I hear people talk about how “bad” the RAs are in Bergami, I know that this is not an accurate representation of our RAs. Our RAs respect every single person in our building no matter what. They all genuinely care about us and our safety. They all want the absolute best for us and they really do not enjoy getting us in trouble. It would be so much easier for them to ignore every wrong thing we do, but that is not their job. Instead they have to discipline us, and when they do this, they typically have to write up a lengthy report of whatever the situation was.

So, the next time you think about swearing at your RA for asking you to turn your music down at midnight on a Tuesday night, just remember that they are people too and they have a job to do.

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