Editorial: Changes to RA hiring timeline raise concerns

Opinion by Editorial Board
Oct. 12, 2010, 1:43 a.m.

Now three weeks into the school year, freshmen are just getting used to Stanford and the idea of Residential Education. Some sophomores are thinking deeply about their three-year plans with little time to decide a major and academic track. Some juniors are still contemplating whether or not to take advantage of study-abroad options. Prospective coterminal students are preparing their applications, anticipating decisions to be announced in March and April.

In the midst of the fall-quarter frenzy, students now have to weigh yet another option that Stanford offers–the choice of committing now to four quarters of resident assistant (RA) duties, including a one-quarter training class and three quarters of staffing.

The editorial board has concerns about the new changes to the RA hiring process. Granted, there is value in moving the deadline earlier. It allows more time for prospective RAs to find drawmates in the event of a denial, it allows RAs to take a class similar to the training that peer health educators and resident computer consultants undergo during spring quarter, and it allows for more preparation.

However, all these improvements are done at the expense of the students, forcing them to make hasty decisions during fall quarter.

Very few sophomores know of their intentions for next quarter, much less whether or not they want to make a four-quarter commitment to a dorm staffing position. Junior RAs are just becoming acclimated to staffing. With only nine weeks of experience, it will be hard to determine whether or not committing another year would be worth it. Non-RAs are just growing accustomed to their major courses, figuring out commitments to activities, and deciding whether or not to pass up their last chances to apply for study-abroad opportunities. For prospective coterminal students, the staffing decision will likewise be more difficult.

In addition, a Row house’s current staff will only have about nine weeks of interaction with its residents, leaving the staff to decide on next year’s hires with little knowledge how the applicants would fit into the house.

The improvements could be made without putting students in such situations. Student input is integral in making these decisions, and while the RA hiring process needed to be revamped, the editorial board is skeptical about whether or not this change is the best course of action.

The Stanford Daily Editorial Board comprises Opinions Editors, Columnists, and at least one member of the Stanford Community. The Board's views are reached through research, debate and individual expertise. The Board does not represent the views of the newsroom nor The Stanford Daily as a whole. Current voting members include Chair Nadia Jo '24, Joyce Chen '25, YuQing Jian '25, Jackson Kinsella '27, Alondra Martinez '26 and Sebastian Strawser '26.

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