University Housing and Residence Life


Section 6: Wing Management /Discipline/Writing Incident Reports/Room Entry

Types of University Rules

The responsibility of enforcing University rules is probably one of the most difficult tasks facing a Resident Advisor.

Health and Safety Rules:

The University has the responsibility to protect the health, safety, and well-being of students and staff. Policies in this area relate to building security, possession of dangerous weapons on campus, state health codes, state fire regulations, and other safety precautions.

Contractual Policies:

These rules are part of the contractual relationship that exists between the student and the University when housing is provided in return for payment of a housing fee. These rules include check-in and check-out procedures, payment procedures, paying for damages, cancellation policies, and other rules the student assumes as a condition for living in the hall.

Federal, State, and Local Laws:

The University accepts responsibility for enforcing federal, state, and local laws. Rules relating to theft, assault, possession of illegal drugs, extortion, alcohol possession, and hazing policies are all based on these laws.

Group Living Rules:

The University recognizes that group living requires regulations to help maintain an environment consistent with the mission of the institution. Regulations have been developed specifically by the University Housing & Residence Life Office (i.e. quiet hours, conduct in the hall common areas, noise and other courtesy regulations, no pets, no cooking in rooms, overnight guest rules, visitation rules, etc.)

University Rules:

The University may establish policies which it deems necessary for accomplishing its educational mission. Examples can be found in regulations pertaining to academics such as academic honesty, cheating, plagiarism, falsifying documents and disregarding lawful directions of college officials. (Refer to TAMUK Student Handbook and Residence Life Guidebook)

Section 6.1 Setting the Standards of Conduct

As a Resident Advisor, you play a key role in establishing standards of conduct within your residence hall. Since you live with the residents on the wing, you are more aware of potential and actual problems than any member of the residence life staff.

Your objective is to supervise the students so that an atmosphere for learning prevails, residence hall rules are observed, and students assume responsibility for their own behavior.

Your resident advisor responsibilities in this area include but are not limited to:

  • Setting an example by personally adhering to all rules and regulations.

  • Assisting students in knowing what is expected of them, the reasons for these expectations, and the consequences for their actions.

  • Facilitating individual student growth toward self-discipline.

  • Confronting and reporting behavioral infractions according to determined policies.

  • Utilizing effective wing management practices to establish a positive community.

Positive Ethical Practices:

As a member of the University Housing & Residence Life Staff, the RA has the authority to assist in maintaining order in the halls. Students should understand that their misconduct will result in the RA’s intervention. However, should the students perceive that the resident advisor’s actions are arbitrary, partial, or inconsistent; problems can arise.

Staff who interact respectfully with students, are confident, and use a positive ‘role model’ approach will be more effective than staff members who use a confronting and defensive approach.

  • Model responsible professional behavior.

  • Model appropriate personal behavior. (Follow the rules yourself)

  • Develop a disciplinary approach that is firm but is also fair and consistent.

  • Focus efforts on developing cooperation, and positive group synergy.

  • Accept the reality that students behave in the manner they believe is in their best interest at the time.

Section 6.2 Dealing With Tough Situations

  • Do not guess or assume anything, but do not ignore potential problems.

  • Address what takes you to the situation first, and then proceed from there.

  • Address what you can see, hear, smell, etc.

  • Do not hesitate to call for backup. It is better to err on the side of caution.

  • Do not blow the situation out of proportion.

  • Keep things calm.

  • Be consistent and fair.

  • Remember that our presence in the residence halls is to be visible and available to students and to deter or prevent violations and problems.

  • Be aware of your body language so that it does not seem threatening or make others feel uncomfortable.

  • Profanity is unprofessional and should not be used.

  • Do not threaten the resident.

  • Remove yourself from the situation if necessary. Call for assistance and/or turn the situation over to a supervisor.

  • If you feel the situation requires UPD assistance, let a supervisor know and call UPD. Remember to document all situations immediately.

Section 6.3 Wing Management Tips

Get to know all your residents as soon as possible

  • Talk to each student residing in your wing within the first two days.
  • Make good use of positive situations where you can be a helper.
  • During the semester spend time on your wing actively interacting with the residents.

Communicate expectations to your residents / Inform students of the rules

  • Explain your role both as a helper and supervisor of student conduct.
  • Explain the rationale behind the rules.
  • Get your residents used to seeing you out there, holding them accountable for the rules.

Strive to involve your residents in the process of developing community

  • Discuss concerns and expectations during wing meetings.
  • Help foster the notion that all residents have a role in developing living conditions on their wing.
  • Get the residents to participate in House Council, RHA, recreational sports or student organization on campus.

Set boundaries for your residents early on so that they know what is acceptable

  • Give immediate feedback
  • Communicate expectations clearly
  • Follow-up on situations
  • Do not ignore problems
  • Utilize the disciplinary process

Practice positive leadership skills

  • To be effective you must earn the resident’s respect
  • Stay under control when handling a situation
  • Use common sense and good judgment
  • Be firm but fair
  • Be flexible
  • Be assertive not aggressive
  • Maintain confidentiality

Section 6.4 Tips on Writing Effective Incident Reports

  • The report should be completed by the principle staff member(s) who handles the incident. There will only be one report written so if multiple staff members are involved please get together and write the report.

  • Incident reports should be written immediately after the incident. If you cannot write the report at that time please notify your supervisor.

  • Care must be taken in the writing of the report as once submitted it becomes a university document.

  • Be sure names, dates, K numbers, time of incident, etc., are accurate.

  • The location where the incident occurred should be specific.

  • Be sure that the report is accurate in terms of the sequence of how events occurred and the facts described.

  • Write a concise description of the incident and any relevant information leading up to the incident.

  • Do not write reports in the third person.

  • Avoid adding your opinions.

  • Be as specific as possible.

  • If alcohol was involved please include what kind, what brand, if it was in bottles, cans or cups. How many bottles, cans or cups were there? Did they have alcohol in them if so how much? Were they full, a quarter full, half full or empty? Also, list each one for example (There were 12 cans of Budweiser beer, 6 were empty, 2 were ¼ full and 4 were full and unopened). Be sure to list what happened to the alcohol for example (UPD poured out the alcohol and the bottles and cans were disposed of or UPD or a staff member confiscated the alcohol).

  • Do not be afraid to write foul language spoken in the report.

  • Remember that you may write an incident report on any situation that you feel in important. An incident report must be written when a student is issued a violation. An incident report can also serve as a violation.

  • If your report is written with a lot grammatical errors or information is left out you will be asked to re-write the report.

  • All reports become official University documents are routed to the Executive Director of Residence Life, Director of Residence Life, Dean of Students, Associate Dean of Students and the Chief of Police at UPD.

Section 6.5 Tips When Issuing a Violation

  • Maintain eye contact

  • Explain the violation, but do not talk down to the resident(s).

  • Avoid sarcastic remarks

  • Do not use obscene language

  • Remain calm even if the resident(s) begin yelling at you.

  • Do not touch the resident(s) for any reason.

Section 6.6 Reasons Why We Issue Violations

  • Health & Safety Violations (Pets, Cooking Appliances, Candles, Candle Warmers, Incense etc.)

  • Alcohol Policy

  • Illegal Drug Policy

  • Smoking / Vaping

  • Visitation

  • Noise

  • Other policy violations

Section 6.7 Room Entry Guidelines

Why Staff Would Enter a Room:

  • When maintenance of the room is required.

  • To check who is occupying the room at the HR or Coordinator/AD’s request

  • To secure hall or inspect university property

  • To replace damaged or obsolete furniture

  • To eliminate disruptive noise from electrical devices

  • When there is reasonable cause, that a violation of policy is being committed

  • At the request of the resident

Room Entry Procedures

  • 2 staff members must be present (1 may be a maintenance worker)

  • Knock firmly and identify yourself

  • Wait 5 seconds if no answer knock again

  • Wait 3 seconds knock again and key in

  • Say the is (Name) (Position) I am keying in

  • Enter room and attend to what you have to do only tamper with the residents property if you have to otherwise do not touch anything

  • HR’s/RA’s/CA’s are not permitted to search a room

  • Room entry form must be filled out and signed by 2 staff members

  • Room entry (original) is then left in a very visible spot in the room and copy goes in the HR’s box or designated location by the HR/RLC/AD

  • Always keep the door partially open

  • If person is asleep wake them before or upon entering the room

  • Lock the door upon exiting the room

  • Protect the residents right to privacy do not discuss what they have in their room

  • Never let a resident that does not reside in the room in (unless permission is given by the professional staff member in your area)

Procedures for Locking/Unlocking a Residents Room Door

  • Verify identity of the person requesting room entry

  • If they call to get their room locked they must wait for the staff member to get there

  • Written documentation must be done

  • Submit the yellow copy to the HR/RLC/AD and leave the white copy for the resident