Letters to the editor

By DailyCollegian.com Staff

Dear Editor,

My name is Emma Allen and I am the current Director of the Residence Hall Association (RHA). I wanted to respond to recent articles in The Daily Collegian referring to Residential Life’s Solicitation Policy and UMass students having a voice in decision making.

As the Solicitation & Posting Policy falls under the domain of Residential Life, RHA has had a large role in the policy’s review. We have had many discussions in our weekly general body meetings with student representatives about the policy and how residential students feel about it. During our past discussions, students have very strongly voiced their opinions saying that the policy made sense and they liked the protection it provided. Many students claimed that when strangers knock on their door they feel obligated to answer, and typically feel a sense of pressure by whoever is on the other side to stand and talk to them, even if they do not want to. To say that “the students have made clear that they are willing to have people come into the dorms and speak to them” is an untrue assumption which speaks for students who do not necessarily have the same opinion.

 

Not only has Eddie Hull heard feedback from RHA, he has also formed a committee with both RHA and SGA representatives in order to hear a variety of opinions as well as propose edits to the policy in order to best meet the needs of both groups. The committee was formed in October and began meeting in November. Representatives were appointed by SGA president Yevin Roh and myself. As the task force was ready to submit their proposal to Hull, the letter from the ACLU appeared inevitably complicating the process.

In last week’s article, the author put forth some, in my opinion, false information relating to student voice at UMass. I have been a student voice not only in this matter, but also by taking part of the Working Group for Student Success. As the Director of the Residence Hall Association, I work to represent the voices of the residents that I work with, and the residents that they represent. Not every student has the ability to sit on a committee, but those of us that do have that capability are responsible for gathering information and opinions of as many students as possible so more voices are heard. In addition to my involvement on this committee, students have been included on Residential Life and Student Affairs committees including creating Community Standards, discussing the campus master plan, planning the fall NSO program, and search committee.

I hope that students can see the importance of change and decision making at UMass. Administrators and students alike are looking to constantly improve and build this campus and its community. In addition I want to remind you to look at the ways in which students are heard in decision making processes. RHA has been able to make several large recommendations to Eddie Hull in Residential Life including subjects like Housing Priority for the upcoming year and installation of Hydration Stations in the Residence Halls. Residential Students are making a huge impact on campus and they are spreading knowledge and leadership throughout the halls.

After reading about some pretty disappointing behavior and actions in The Collegian week after week I thought it was time for my voice, and hopefully the voices of many others, to be heard too.

Emma Allen

Director, Residence Hall Association

[email protected]

www.housing.umass.edu/rha