Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 3 - 70

" Draft Day "
Several RLPs discussed placing RAs within
draft systems where RLPs rotate placing RA
candidates in a predetermined order, similar
to a professional sports draft. For the RLPs
we interviewed, this made sense to them at
larger schools for efficiency, but the majority of RLPs in this current study had negative
perceptions of the " draft " approach. " Draft "
placement was regarded as stressful, combative, and tense. Some institutions have
moved to a more collaborative model where
they place RAs together as a professional
staff, but this was time-consuming, making
this a significant barrier. One RLP shared
an example relating to trust and the draft
process, " Hesitation about trust is a huge
thing...feeling like [placement] is a draft
is something I am against. " That is, if colleagues do not trust each other, the draft is
less likely to go smoothly, and may even become competitive. Previous, negative experiences with a draft day placement process
was mentioned by several RLPs who reported hesitation in using a draft approach in
the future.

Team Dynamics
The research question in this study focused
on the factors RLPs consider when selecting
teams of RAs. We were interested to learn
if RLPs would want to select the RAs with
the highest interview scores, or if there were
other factors they considered when building
teams. We identified three common themes
in the data: how well the RA team represented the student population, having a variety of
skills and styles on the team, and how well
the team worked together.
Representation
RLPs were interested in RA teams that were
representative of the student population, both
demographically and in personal identity.

For some RLPs, their institutions have gender-specific or sex-specific RA positions that
they need to consider when placing RAs. One
RLP stated, " I have to have men in certain
areas because of our...building breakdown. "
Another RLP said, " We have to have men; we
have to have women, " emphasizing the need
to hire both qualified men and women. In
these systems, an RLP would hire a candidate
identifying as a man who scored lower than a
candidate identifying as a woman if they only
had spaces left on their team for male RAs
based on the floor designation. Several RLPs
mentioned fewer men applied to their RA
positions and, as a group, scored lower than
women. It is important to note that RLPs at
institutions where placement is influenced
by gender also discussed their approach to
support RAs who do not identify as either a
man or a woman, which varied by institution.
	
RLPs also considered demographic factors and identity, most commonly gender
and race, to ensure diversity among their RA
teams. Considering diversity was most prevalent when placing RAs into teams as opposed
to making hiring offers to ensure that hiring practices were not discriminatory based
on identity. The primary intention of having
diversity within the RA team was to ensure
the RAs were representative of the overall student or building population. Diverse teams
allowed for students to be more likely to find
an RA who shared some identities with them,
and the hired RAs being representative of
the population suggested just hiring practices. In one RLP's words, " There is a push to
ensure that [RA] staffs are representative of
our community. " Another RLP highlighted
this same idea, sharing, " It was a value of the
department, and that the RA team should be
representative of the on-campus population
and the students they serve. " Succinctly, " The
staff should match the students. "
Volume 47, No. 3 * 2021

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