|Vol. 17, No. 19||Feb. 12, 1998|
This is the underlying theme of the Resident Assistant Commitment to Ethics, which was drawn up for and by the RAs at the University, according to Cynthia Cummings, residence life.
The ethics program has been highly successful and will receive one of four Innovative Program/ Activity awards from the Region II National Association of Student Personnel Administrators at its conference in Philadelphia in March. The other schools being recognized are Colgate and Syracuse universities and Lafayette College.
Cummings, hall director Lee Swain and RA Jennifer Goodson also have been invited to make a presentation on the UD ethics program at the conference.
"It is not unusual for some of our RAs to have difficulty making appropriate choices when faced with ethical dilemmas. We felt that the RA's could profit from a framework of ethical guidelines to help them make sound decisions and demonstrate ethical behavior. My feeling was that this should not be imposed from above but developed by the RAs themselves," Cummings said.
Cummings meets twice monthly with the Resident Assistant Advisory Team (RAAT) of 11 students, representing each residential complex and the 179 RAs on the campus. Throughout the spring of 1997, the RAAT members studied various professional ethics statements and grappled with many serious issues. At the end of each meeting, the resident assistants went back to their respective staffs for further discussion and input.
"There was not much enthusiasm at first, but putting the emphasis on being a particular kind of person and on character, on and off the job, not on rules and regulations, aroused student interest," Cummings recalled.
After much discussion and debate, the RA Commitment to Ethics document was completed. Each RA received a copy of the statement during last fall's RA training week and posters were made and hung in residence life offices. At the concluding luncheon of the training week, RAs who had worked on the document presented it to their peers. The document is divided into several sections:
-Sue Swyers Moncure