Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 3 - 22

There is a high level of excitement and liveliness around bringing
eager RA candidates together and the touch of anxiety seems to add
to the positive energy. We have long questioned, though, if feeling
good about this element of the hiring process reflects a sound,
effective, and ethical method.
task might heighten anxiety as with an activity
involving blindfolds and a student with a fear
of the dark. The responsibility for Doing No
Harm lies with the organizers to carefully vet
activities and logistics such that students have
the ability to opt out or chose an alternative
without negatively impacting their candidacy.
	
The three core guidelines of Universal
Design for Learning (CAST, 2018) provide
useful direction for the selection and preparation of activities that would obviate the
need to ask participants to self-disclose documented or undocumented issues. Openly
sharing information about group activities
in advance has the potential to address what
Leshem (2012) remarked when a group interview participant expressed, " We've never
had such an experience before " (p. 5), indicating the acute challenges involved in a
novel situation. Consider too having a preparatory session where potential candidates
can learn about the group process and ask
questions without any concern of reprisal or
otherwise potentially harming their candidacy. Advance information assists students by
enabling them to prepare, decide if they want
to share, or to choose from options (if such
are made available).
	
The third tenet, Benefiting Others, " is a
direct goal of student services professionals " (Kitchener, 1985, p. 22) and involves
intentionally supporting and promoting
students' learning, development, " health
and well-being " (Kitchener, 1985, p. 22). A
philosophy present in RA work-and it's
quite evident here-is allocentrism (framed
here as " benefitting others " ). Allocentrism

is essentially where individuals orient their
time, attention, and energy to others rather
than themselves. Yet, on some occasions,
we have noted group process observers who
seem pleased, even gleeful, when participants encounter obstacles to successful task
completion or who view group process as
an important rite of passage-almost as if
it were hazing. The principle of Benefiting
Others would, in these cases, seem to be in
direct conflict. To avoid this friction, care can
be taken to develop group process as an educational endeavor for participants. Consistently emphasizing learning might involve
making opening and closing comments in
this regard (and, in keeping with Universal
Design, providing them in writing as well),
selecting activities without hidden agendas and that offer an occasion for learning
content or skills related to the RA position,
providing training for observers, debriefing after each group activity, and including
opportunity for candidates to verbally or in
writing reflect on their learning at the time
or a few days later.
	
The fourth principle, Being Just, was summarized by the Council for the Advancement
of Standards (2015) as " promot[ing] human
dignity and endors[ing] equality and fairness
for everyone " (p. 2). Concerns about justice
often arise when the needs of one group or
individual are weighed against those of another group or individual (Kitchener, 1985).
Being Just has recently been contrasted with
equality and equity via a sequence of images. In three images, three people of different
heights watch a baseball game from behind

Volume 47, No. 3 * 2021

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