Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Thank You!

Normally I am snarky as hell. However, given the rarity of Leap Year, I thought it appropriate for me to show my rare mushy side—just this once! Thank you to all my followers, my commentators, and my readers. Without you, the BadHallDirector blog would just be a neat format to hold my ramblings. Knowing that I have a loyal base keeps me motivated to write relevant posts and be as honest as I can. Residential Life is a crazy profession and without a laugh or two, none of us will survive. Thank you again, and keep reading!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

“You’re So Gay”—Sorry, That's SO 2001

The worst judicial hearing I ever had to handle was a case of homophobic cyberbullying. Shortly after the suicide of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University student who had a sexual encounter with a man unknowingly captured by his roommate, Dharun Ravi, via webcam, fifteen to twenty flyers were anonymously posted around my hall and on campus announcing the homosexual relationship between two of my male residents.

Josiah accused Kenneth of taking a photo of him and his roommate, Jason, kissing, which Josiah states they posed for as a dare from Kenneth’s roommate, not proof that he was gay. The flyer in question had the same photo that Josiah described along with a paragraph declaring Jason and Josiah’s love for each other as well as an invitation to start a homosexual club, which meets every Wednesday in Josiah’s room (the room number was included).

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Is the Moral Road Worth Taking?

It has been a rough week for BadHallDirector—professionally. I have had a few too many probationary conversations with RAs, I have been chewed out by my boss for not reminding him about a meeting that he was running, and I have had too many arguments with custodial services about CAD charges. My conclusion this week is that being honest and moral just isn’t paying off.

Our washing machines and dryer units are at least 7 years old. For normal use say at your home, that wouldn’t be a big deal. My parents have had their dryer set for 25 years. It reminds me of when I was 4 and wore TMNT footie pajamas—anyway, I digress. Back to washing machines. For machines in a couple-hundred-person building, a few years can easily equal thousands of loads of laundry. Keeping crappy machines for too long and making students suffer, because the department is too cheap is just not right!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Class Warfare: The Last Great Battle of the Residence Halls

Many moons ago, my department suffered a devastating class warfare that pitted the professional staff against the facilities staff. The battles were overwhelming, the outcome catastrophic so much so that the effects are still felt today. Okay, so that is a little dramatic; however, when I first asked about the division between residential life and the maintenance/custodial staffs, the response I got was just as over the top. A long time ago, before any of my peers were employed here, something happened that caused the facilities department to feel resentment towards residential life. The animosity was so strong that it made the “blue collar workers” feel like the “graduate degree holders” judged them negatively given their menial job descriptions.

None of this is true. Most likely the people who started the class warfare have long since retired, leaving behind a legacy of distrust and bitterness. Unfortunately, the real victims are those who are currently employed, on both sides, because it is almost impossible to work together without underlying tones of anger seeping through to the surface. When I first met with my building’s facilities managers, I was respectful, inquisitive, and eager to learn how I could help them have an easier time handling messy and destructive students. Our relationship started off positively and I had high hopes we would avoid the disasters about which I had already been warned.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Your Time Has Come My Friend

One of my close friends is living the life all hall directors dream about on our darkest days: living off-campus, paying rent, and commuting. He is working in Student Activities at a local community college. He took the position, because he was burnt out and wanted nothing to do with Residential Life. Sadly, his new job works closely with the Director of Residential Life (hereafter known as Igor)—that dude needs to have things his way or else. Plus, the Dean of Students is a former-ResLifer and is in love with the Director, so Igor can do no wrong.

Igor is a typical live-in professional past his prime. He has three kids: 5, 7, and 12. He has been divorced since 2003. He is more than twice the age of his oldest residents. It’s time for Igor to find another job or another position in Residential Life. Yet, he refuses. Instead, he demands every department on the small campus bend to his will without an ounce of compromise. Igor continuously forces his expectations onto others, all with the help of his buddy: The Dean of Students—a perpetual resident himself.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Freedom Riders. Freedom Writers. Freedom Bloggers?

Today, I stumbled upon the PBS Channel, and they were playing a great documentary about the Freedom Riders of May 1961. Over the course of 2-3 weeks, several busses traveled from Washington DC and Nashville, through the Deep South in hopes of arriving in Louisiana for a conference. They were brave folks (White and Black, male and female, young and old) who endured beatings, verbal abuse, and death threats just to spread the message of desegregation.

As I watched in awe, I was reminded of a book I read a few years ago for an education class, titled Freedom Writers. It has since been turned into a movie with Hilary Swank playing the role of Erin Gruwell, a teacher faced with a tough inner-city classroom deemed “unteachable” by the school and principal. The class adopted their name in honor of the Freedom Riders; they used the power of their voice and the power of their words to fight against the racism and discrimination surrounding them. The book had such an impact on me as a future educator that I still strive to be an advocate for all students facing bigotry.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Slutty or Sloppy?

Nothing makes me want to slap someone in the face more than when I hear a gaggle of gals ridicule another woman for dressing too “slutty”, especially when their wardrobe is sloppy, disheveled, and unprofessional. When did it become okay to openly mock women who may dress a little too provocative for the office—or at the very least—look more fashionable than the rest, but wrong to turn the mirror on the ridiculers who dress in ill-fitted khakis, sloppy sweaters, and flip flops?

Granted, some women I have worked with struggled to understand the concept of a bra or covering up their [breast & butt] cleavage. However, I have yet to hear a woman being called out for looking sloppy, at least where I have worked. The women I see every day in my current job wear pants that drag behind them, have blouses that are more trash bag than shirt, and deem crocs acceptable footwear. And, one of them is an Area Coordinator! What their wardrobe says to me is that they've given up.