Andrew Sword said he resigned from his position as a resident assistant in King and Wright Hall when complications arose with his hall director after his girlfriend was not able to move into the same building. He said he was transferred to a different hall and then quit because he felt like an outsider in a completely different environment.
“I had seen other RAs get away with it in the past, and I was being upfront and honest about it and just looking for some help.” Sword said. “I felt like I was a valuable part of the team there and a valuable part of the staff.”
Other RAs have had experiences similar to Sword’s.
Director of Housing & Residence Life Craig Allen said that in the five years he has been employed at TCU, he has had to deal with three different cases concerning RAs and relationships with their residents.
“Every situation involving the code of ethics is a case by case,” Allen said. “The code of ethics is a body of values and principles that we want people to live by.”
Heather Miller, associate director of Housing & Residence Life, said an RA’s main responsibility was to build strong relationships and friendships with everyone within their building and to work on programming and building that community. During training, RAs receive their own codes of ethics that must be followed. One of the rules states that an RA is not allowed to live in the same building with their significant other, she said.
“If they’re in a relationship with someone in their building, then the perception could be that they are playing favorites or possibly not doing their job when it comes to holding students accountable,” Miller said.
Maria Bermudez, a graduate student and RA in King and Wright Hall, said that if a resident in a dorm wanted to start a relationship with an RA, that resident would have to tell his or her hall director so the RA could be transferred to a different building.
The ideal situation, Bermudez said, would be for an RA to build a friendship with their residents so they feel comfortable speaking about personal issues.
“You need to have a balance between friendship and what it means to be an RA,” Bermudez said.
Bermudez said the rules were put into place to make the RAs’ and residents’ lives easier by avoiding any unnecessary confrontations.
“It is more difficult to stand up and tell a person you are in love with that what they are doing is not OK,” Bermudez said. “The rest of the residents living in the building might feel uncomfortable, and it’s not fair for the other residents.”
Sophomore nutrition major Caroline Couper said it would be awkward if someone in the dorm had a relationship with an RA but that it should be that person’s choice.
“If it’s a meant-to-be relationship, is that fair to them [to not allow the relationship]? But if they are really that mature about it, then maybe they’ll wait,” Couper said.