Opinion: Addressing the HA Role

We appreciate the opportunity to address two issues that the Quest article “Questions Arise about House Advisor Role” raises: House Advisor (HA) departures and HA/resident boundaries.

While we are not at liberty to share any specifics, we can say that four HAs have left their position this academic year. This compares to the one or two that typically leave their role mid-way through the year. In each case, the HA who stepped down had compelling reasons to do so. We respect these decisions and seek to support each HA through the process, while also working hard to meet the needs of the residents whose HA has left.

When an HA leaves their position mid-year, the Area Coordinator (AC) overseeing that community selects an alternate HA and offers them a position. Alternates typically have a week to accept or decline; if multiple alternates decline, it can take several weeks to secure a successor, who must then move into the community and establish themself in the role. During this transition time, ACs support impacted communities by increasing their presence in the space, and other HAs step in to provide programming, one-on-one meetings, and resource referral.

It is vitally important to establish and maintain clear and consistent boundaries between HAs and their residents. This is often complicated, as HAs and their residents live in close proximity, sometimes share experiences both in and outside the residence hall, and, on occasion, develop close friendships. In order to help HAs strike an appropriate balance, we plan to work with HAs to incorporate additional training for the upcoming year. We appreciate the feedback about clarifying HA/ resident boundaries and remain open to additional input from HAs and students. To provide feedback, you may contact res.life@reed.edu or speak with your Area Coordinator.

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