The call of duty
Before the creation of Office of Residence Halls in 1974, today the Office of Residence Life, dormitory policy was enforced by representatives in the house council. The house council evolved over the years and is now most similar to the residence hall’s Community Activities Board. According to the 1971-1972 student handbook, “The house council is a self-contained unit consisting of a president, a vice-president and from one to 3 monitors for each floor, and a Judicial representative per floor or per section. This council, which is in charge of all regulations affecting the living of the resident group…” The house council was a branch of the Student Government Association and represented the residential students. The house council was also able to give sanctions to residents breaking policy. The council’s positions were filled by volunteer students in each dormitory and were voted in by the other residents in the building. This is very different than today and it seems strange that students could vote in the person who would be enforcing the rules on them. However in the later half of the 1970’s enforcing residence hall policies was the job of the Resident Adviser, but the house council still existed.
The student handbook from 1973-1974 year describes for the first time a residence hall staff member is “on duty” in the building. These staff members would “maintain order and quiet in the hall” and stay on duty until 2:00am on weekends. Resident Advisers were now responsible for keeping quiet hours, visitation hours, explaining proper checkout procedure for residents moving out of the building, enforcing the alcohol policy, and many more. The RA on duty each night would, and still does today, walk around the building making sure all doors are safely shut and there are no policies being violated.
Resident Advisers also were granted the responsibility of holding programs to benefit the residential community. According to Dr. Mark Warner the RA’s were required to hold a social and an academic program during the school year for the residents. These programs are still in use today and the Office of Residence Life requires RA’s to hold three different types of programs depending on the class of the resident community.
1971-1972 Madison College Student Handbook, Residence Hall Policies
1972-1973 Madison College Student Handbook, Residence Hall Policies