Come on, admit it. There are times, when in the heat of a testy incident, unprofessional language and behavior creeps into the scenario. Sometimes the confrontation is the last straw and even the most seasoned and stone-faced Hall Director cracks under the weight of anger and frustration. Maybe it is the resident who is constantly coming home intoxicated and blasting Flo-Rida at 3am on a weekday. Or maybe it is the fifteen smokers you have documented for standing right outside your apartment and you are tired of fighting the lobby crowds and the below-zero temperatures to get to them. Or maybe it is simply that your supervisor refuses to take your concerns about repeat offenders seriously, and you have been called, once again, on the duty phone to handle the troubled room.
I confess. I am not perfect, and I try to keep my cool when I document students; however, there are times when my steely exterior crumbles to the ground and the fire within explodes into the faces of defiant residents. For example, while standing in the lobby one evening speaking with the Hall Council President, I was interrupted by a sharp rap on the front doors. I motioned to the anxious resident that he needed to use his ID card, because I was not going to allow him access to the building without a swipe. The resident, “Grover”, shook his head and continued to bang on the door until an outgoing resident held the door open for him.
Refusing to let Grover pass by me without a lecture, I stepped in front of him and demanded to see his ID card. He made a million excuses as to why he could not show me his license (his hands were full with books, he needed to get upstairs before the game started, his friends were on their way down to meet him, etc.). However, I remained firm and once again required him to present his ID. Finally, he pulled out his ID and flashed it at lightning speed so that I could not read his name, I flipped out.
As I started to harangue him on how our doors are locked 24/7 for the safety of his friends and all other residents, Grover walked away, muttering “fuck you” under his breath. I replied, “Don’t be an asshole, you asshat!” This garnered the shocked stares of several residents, a few RAs, and the Hall Council President who was standing next to me. I did not care if the entire building gossiped about my outburst. My temper had snapped and my professionalism had walked out with Grover.
However, this is not where the incident ends. Grover was only upstairs for a few minutes before returning to the lobby where he faced an irate and aggressive Hall Director…me. Against, my better judgment, I followed him outside, screaming at him the entire time. Eventually, he grew tired of me berating him as he walked to his adjoining residence hall and turned around. Grover handed me his ID, but not without several demeaning expletives flying my way. It did not matter; I got his name, which meant I could write an incident report.
Did I include my “asshat” comment in the incident report? No, it was ‘conveniently’ omitted for the official record. Was that wrong of me? Yes, probably. Looking back at how I behaved, I get that it was unprofessional and I should have never let a 19-year-old brat goad me into screaming and swearing. Would I suggest that other Hall Directors make this behavior a habit? No, we’d all get fired if caught. However, it sure felt good!