House staff picks up patrol duties

House staff will take on an increasingly supervisory role this semester, after the University directed its student housing employees to monitor floors in residential halls for five hours each week.

The Center for Student Engagement’s more rigid guidelines, which start this week, require the student employees to set aside at least five hours making weekly rounds of the residence halls or floors they oversee. One of those hours must be on Thursday, Friday or Saturday nights.

House staff members are expected to roam their buildings each week to maintain open lines of communication with residents, for whom they serve as mentors on matters ranging from academics to personal issues.

Tim Miller, the director of the CSE and associate dean of students, said the weekend check-in duties seek to monitor activities in residence halls when “there’s a lot going on, both good and bad.” He said he does not expect house staff members to be reporting more incidences of illegal activities than in the past.

“We’re not suddenly asking house staff to listen, smell, figure out if something bad is happening,” Miller said, adding that a “see-something, say-something” rule has always been the policy.

If a house staff member notices underage drinking, drug use or other illegal behavior, they are required to notify the University Police Department, Miller said. He added that, for the first time, the Center for Student Engagement is working to better communicate its expectations for all house staff members, but stressed that responsibilities have not changed.

The revised guidelines come after a semester of security crackdowns in residence halls across campus. After unlawful entries to campus buildings led to two arrests this fall, UPD began stationing officers at building entrances and cutting back on patrols inside halls.

When asked if the stricter policy reflected the shifting role of UPD in residence halls, Miller said, “It’s not disconnected. But we’re not trying to replace UPD.”

Freshman Kasey Muraszko, a Thurston Hall resident, said she is concerned the new mandate will give house staff members a policing rather than mentoring role.

“I think house proctors need to be someone you look up to and not to be afraid of,” Muraszko said.

Multiple house staff members declined to comment on the new policy because they were told not to speak to The Hatchet.

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