Housing officials justify RM turnover rate
Every year, the housing department hires over 30 resident mentors (often referred to as RM’s or RA’s).
To many who have seen the advertisements, that number may sound high, but according to the university, it is average. The contracts for resident mentors are yearly, which means that everyone, including returners, have to reapply. However, students are less interested in hearing about returning RM’s and more interested in those who choose not to reapply.
There are many factors ranging from major conflicts, graduation, relocation and just the usual stress of the job itself that must be considered when looking at the fluctuating numbers.
Pacer Downs Community Director Taylor Rufus and Ahmed Samaha, Interim Vice Chancellor of Student Life and Services, weighed in with their perspectives of the issue.
“One-third of the staff either graduates, relocates to somewhere off campus or just can’t do the job anymore,” said Rufus. “Out the two-thirds that are left, we rehire half and that’s normal.”
Programming, health checks, room inspections, on-call duty and all other job requirements make being a resident mentor challenging.
“We expect so much out of our RM’s,” admitted Samaha. “They are held to a higher standard because they are modeling good behavior and sometimes that can be a lot to handle.”
Most resident mentors are young themselves, so the internal conflict between their own lives and being responsible for their peers is understandable. However, some people thrive in this environment.
“I was really nervous about being an RM at first because it is really time consuming and you are faced with so many different situations that you have to react to responsibly and in the best interest of the residents on campus.,” said
Sophomore elementary education major Jax White said that at first he was nervous about the responsibilities he would face and the time-consuming nature of the job, but he has acclimated to the leadership role over time.
“I feel like I have grown so much and learned a lot from this experience in terms of time management.”
Although White’s experience turned out to have a positive impact on his life, others who have previously held the position do not agree.
“We are unappreciated,” said a former RM, who wished to remain anonymous. “The job is not worth the pay since it stresses you out more than it’s helping you to grow.”
USCA is one of the top three schools in the state for RM compensation.
“Students should act more mature when it comes to solving problems,” continued the former RM. “Housing shelters them and that’s not going to help them learn how to problem solve in the real world.
Some people have had a more pleasant experiences than others, but it remains true that you can’t please everyone.
“We do try to keep a very open and transparent environment between us [the administration] and the staff [the resident mentors],” said Rufus. “So if they feel the need to talk or they are frustrated, they can do that.”