The Office of Residential Life has experienced an 8 percentage point increase in Residential Assistants (RAs) that identify as AHANA+ for the 2018-2019 academic year. This past year, 44 percent of RAs identify as students of color, while next year will see an increase to 52 percent, as of now. Mike Lorenz, the associate director for selection, development, and formation for ResLife, says that the percentage will change very little before next year as students fill the few extra open positions.
On RA applications, students are not required to answer any questions identifying them demographically. ResLife is legally prohibited from asking students to identify their religious preferences, economic background, and sexual orientation. Student applicants have the option to identify their race, gender, and ethnicity. The students who choose to answer these optional questions are the main metric by which ResLife can measure the diversity of student workers.
During interviews, they ask potential RAs how they would support and identify with students who are part of underrepresented populations, showing that ResLife and BC are ensuring that RAs include a more diverse representation of student leaders, to whom students living on-campus can relate. RAs can be a liaison for students to express any difficulties and problems they experience on campus, so presenting a more diverse body of RAs can give students an extra resource they can go to. ResLife stresses the importance of responsible RAs with whom students can relate to so that they can be an identifiable resource for all students.
In light of the racially charged defacing that occurred in residence halls this past fall that incited the “Silence is Still Violence” movement on campus, the increased amount of AHANA+ RAs will hopefully diminish the likelihood of a similarly offense event occurring. It is important that BC represents all student demographics in leadership roles on campus—an increase in RAs that identify as students of color presents a solid foundation to ensure that residents find their dorms comfortable and inclusive homes for the year.
Featured Graphic by Nicole Chan / Graphics Editor