Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 2 - 59

Using Inclusion Assistants

a good job of picking our staff members and
being careful of who she hires. She does a
great job of making sure our staff is diverse. "
Another stated,
I've been blessed with a staff that understands and they can handle certain things
like that. When it comes to inclusion, when
it comes to bias situations, things like
that, most people on my staff know how
to handle those things. That's just because
that's who they are, they're just good with
that. And I'm thankful for that.
However, a number of inclusion assistants
experienced frustration and lack of support.
One noted that when they planned a program, other staff never attended. " Another
part about the role, when I even have a program, why is half my staff, 'Oh, I'm sorry,
I fell asleep.' Stuff like that. I don't get the
support that I'm supposed to. " Others spoke
of resident assistants begrudgingly attending
their events and even mocking them.

56

hall/residence directors (deemed " good situations " ) and those that did not (deemed " bad
situations " ).
	
The training materials for all staff we
reviewed showed that considerable time had
been spent on issues of inclusion, logical
sequencing of activities in terms of depth,
and intentional sequencing of outcomes and
experiences mapped onto the overall goals
of the residence life program. However, the
inclusion assistants received additional training in diversity and inclusion, which the resident assistants and residence hall/residence
directors did not receive. Assessment data
showed that only 62.2% of the inclusion assistants thought that their training was effective for them to be successful. That resident
assistants did not have to attend the additional diversity training and that the training was
not deemed effective by a third of inclusion
assistants was a source of frustration. As one
remarked,

RAs ain't never went to nothing and could
tell that they was forced to do the thing.
That's the impression that the RAs get
every time they have to go to something
for diversity. That's why I sit at my staff
table and they joke the whole time we in
anything, any diversity education. Because
RAs do it so they can say that they did it.
They'll sit there, we'll be in those socializations and they'll joke the whole time about
triggers and racism and oppression, and
anything like that. And it's going right over
their damn head.

RAs don't have that training . . . I have
entirely White staff except one other person.
All of them are phenomenal. I love my
staff. I agree about staff. But, some of them
aren't completely aware of the cultural
differences, and so they don't know how
to bridge those gaps and have those
conversations. And so every now and then
I get a reference of like . . . I'm happy that
they feel comfortable, and will be like,
" [student name], this was said. How do I
work through this? " But also, it's still kind
of like maybe if they also had the training,
they were also made aware.

The response of residence hall staff ranged
from extremely supportive to ambivalent
to hostile. Inclusion assistants sometimes
joked about " good situations " and " bad situations " regarding residence halls that had
supportive resident assistants and residence

Despite some considerable efforts designed
to support and train inclusion assistants,
they experienced varying levels of support.
The nomenclature of " good situations " and
" bad situations " discussed by several inclu-

The Journal of College and University Student Housing



Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 2

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