Residential Life Advisors for 2020-2021
Dear Williams students,
We all know life on campus will be different this year. We write today to explain how we expect students to work together and with live-in student staff to address the kinds of low-level conflicts and policy infractions that may arise while you’re living together. The approach has been jointly designed by the Dean’s Office and the Office of Campus Life, including the Residential Life program, which comprises the Junior Advisors (JAs), JA Advisory Board (JAAB), the Residential Directors (RDs) and House Coordinators (HCs).
We encourage you to feel comfortable and empowered to talk with each other and work through tensions or disagreements over issues like noise, dorm guests or cleanliness. Such conflicts are an inevitable aspect of life in dorms, and life after college, too. One of our goals is to help you develop the communications, mediation and social skills you’ll need to work through these situations and thrive. Another, equally important goal is to try and reserve calls to Campus Safety for high-level emergencies, where an immediate response is needed.
With that in mind, we’re asking the following of you and your fellow students. If you encounter a low-level policy violation or interruption to your daily life and comfort level in your residence hall, entry or house, please:
Start by attempting to speak to the other person directly. Explain the problem and see if you can work together to develop a compromise or alternative that enables you and them to feel comfortable in your respective living spaces.
If you feel unsure how to address a situation, there are people who can help you. Please reach out to your JA if you’re a first-year, or to your House Coordinator if you’re an upperclass student. They’ve been trained to assist and coach you through such challenges.
If your JA or HC needs assistance in turn, they can contact a JAAB member or their Residential Director for support.
If a JA or JAAB member needs professional staff support, they can contact Dean Sewell Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If an RD or HC needs such support, they should contact Assistant Directors of Residential Life and Housing Patricia Leahey-Hays and Maddy Polidoro during those same hours.
After hours and on weekends, JAs, JAAB members, RDs and HCs should reach out to their Residential Life Advisors. The Advisors are a newly-developed position, whose role is to advise the residential life student staff and support them when they need additional help to resolve a house or entry conflict or a policy violation. They’re employees of the college who’ve been selected for this work and trained to support the residential life program and its student leaders.
To sum up, for low-level infractions or conflicts, please start by trying to talk to your fellow student and reach a compromise. If that fails, or if you feel unsure of how to do it, please talk to your JA or HC. They in turn can talk to JAAB members and Residential Directors. When you need professional help during business hours, they can involve Dean Sewell or Assistant Directors Leahey-Hays and Polidoro. After hours or on weekends they can seek help from the Residential Life Advisors.
You can always find this information in the section of the College Life website about the RLAs.
Thank you so much for your cooperation.
Patricia Leahey-Hays, Assistant Director for Residential Life and Housing
Madeline Polidoro, Assistant Director for Residential Life and Housing
Christopher Sewell ’05, Associate Dean of Students/Dean of First Year Students
Douglas Schiazza, Senior Associate Dean of Campus Life
Rachel V. Bukanc, Senior Associate Dean of Students
Marlene Sandstrom, Dean of the College