Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 3 - 23

Group Process as a Tool

a fence. The first picture depicts each person
standing on a box of the same height, which
represents an equal support. However, only
the tallest and middle height individuals can
see over the fence. In the second image, each
person stands on a different sized box so all
three are raised to the same height and all
can see over the fence. This represents equitable treatment. In final portrayal, the fence
is removed and this represents justice, where
barriers to resources, in this case the baseball
game, are removed.
	
Application of Being Just illuminates
problematic elements of group process.
Group interactions may be particularly
stressful for some populations (e.g., introverts). In his study of Leaderless Discussion
Groups, Bass (1949) concluded " the time an
individual spends in talking in the leaderless
group discussion is indicative of his status
as a leader or follower in that group situation " (p. 533). This, then, might put more
introverted candidates at a considerable
disadvantage if observers are asked to evaluate leadership ability. Ange Concepcion
(2017) represented this in their post to the
ACUHO-I Online Community: " We have
noticed that candidates who are not as vocal/
extroverted do not score well in group interviews, though [they] do well in the individual
interviews. " Important here, and noted earlier, is that RAs are not unidimensional; they
should neither all be " one thing " nor should
they be selected based on an archetype that
has been handed down for generations.
Perhaps an extroverted candidate may fare
better in a group situation, but that should

not therefore eliminate those who are more
reserved from consideration.
	
There is evidence to suggest members
of underrepresented groups are not treated
justly in group interactions, which calls into
question the ethical concept of Being Just
as it pertains to group process. Kirchmeyer
(1993), in a study of college students involved
in class-related task groups, articulated that
" groups may fail to capture the unique approaches and perspectives of members who
are racial or ethnic minorities if these members lack a sense of belonging to the group
or are hampered by language difficulties "
(p. 128). Further, Kirchmeyer (1993) concluded that students not of European descent
contributed less to discussion than their
majority group peers. " [T]he minorities were
at a disadvantage in groups dominated by
others who communicated more effectively
and appropriately, were more assertive, and
expressed less concern for others " (p. 142).
	
Attention to justice involves removing
barriers and insuring access to resources for
all participants, as in early information about
activities, including a staff facilitator for each
activity, implementing debriefing that explores barriers to contributions, and removing " quantity of verbal contributions " from
evaluation rubrics. In a 2016 discussion
thread in the ACUHO-I Online Community,
Belter noted, " I do not feel it is right to evaluate people on things they do not know and
really have no way of knowing prior to an RA
training. " Related to Being Just is the degree
to which candidates are evaluated on their
knowledge of the job versus their skills.

In order to assure trustworthiness in group process and selection
overall, departments should consider if the RA job description
and related expectations are congruent with evaluation metrics
and with group activities.
20

The Journal of College and University Student Housing



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

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