Student Staff Personnel Procedures and Protocol for Performance Review

Introduction

Resident Assistants are expected to fulfill all expectations outlined in the RA job Description, Memorandum of Understanding and RA Manual. RAs are also expected to fulfill expectations outlined by the senior staff in the cluster or building. Resident Assistants receive supervision from the Residence Director and/or Assistant Residence Directors in the cluster or building in which they work. The Residential Life Department believes that, in most cases, when employee performance and behavioral expectations are not being met, supervisors should provide the employee with the opportunity to correct his or her behavior. The personnel procedures and protocols for performance review may be used to help employees meet expectations and improve job performance. Personnel procedures can take the form of progressive discipline or summative discipline. Progressive discipline refers to increasing discipline depending on the severity or frequency of violations of expectations. Some violations are serious enough to warrant summative action, which results in the termination of the staff member’s contract. Formal disciplinary action can include, but is not limited to, the following actions: written warning, probation, termination, and suspension of duties. Disciplinary action will be based on the specific conditions of the incident. In some cases, verbal warnings will be given, which will be documented in the supervisory file.

Disciplinary Actions

Warning
A warning is a supervisory tool that is used to outline an area or areas of concern in the performance of a Resident Assistant. It notifies the staff member that a single incident of failure to meet responsibilities or a pattern of failure to meet responsibilities has occurred and that performance improvements are expected.

Examples of incidents for which a warning may be given on the first occurrence of the incident include (but are not limited to): failure to complete administrative duties; failure to attend staff meeting or a required training session (unexcused); failure to complete community development expectations; or failure to attend RA interview day.

Whenever a staff member is given a written warning by a supervisor, the following will occur:

• Performance concerns will be outlined in writing as a part of the disciplinary letter. The staff member will have the opportunity to meet with the supervisor to discuss the performance concerns and the terms of the discipline. RAs may bring a RA Union representative with them to meetings where personnel matters will be discussed.

• The staff member will be given the opportunity to meet with his/her Assistant Director if additional concerns are still outstanding after the receipt of the letter and the supervision meeting. The Assistant Director will review the information presented by the Resident Assistant and discuss any concerns or questions that are raised.

• A copy of the warning letter will be maintained in the personnel file of the Resident Assistant.

    Probation
    Probation is a supervisory tool that is used to outline an area or areas of concern in the performance of a Resident Assistant and to indicate that improvement is expected during the probationary period. If improvement does not occur during the probationary period, termination of the employment contract can occur.

    Examples of incidents for which probation may be given on the first occurrence of the incident include (but are not limited to): violations that can potentially impact the safety of residents, such as missing duty (unexcused) or failing to communicate an emergency situation; missing residence hall opening or closing; a pattern of failing to complete administrative or programming expectations.

    Probation may also be given when a staff member has previously received a warning and an incident occurs that may otherwise be subject of a warning.

    Whenever a staff member is placed on probation by a supervisor, the following will be part of the supervision received:

    • Performance concerns will be outlined in writing as a part of the disciplinary letter. • Expectations for performance improvement will be a part of the disciplinary letter.

    • The staff member will have the opportunity to meet with the supervisor to discuss the performance concerns and the terms of the discipline. RAs may bring a RA Union representative with them to meetings where personnel matters will be discussed.

    • The staff member will be given the opportunity to meet with his or her Assistant Director if additional concerns are still outstanding after the receipt of the letter and the supervision meeting. The Assistant Director will review the information presented by the Resident Assistant and discuss any concerns or questions that are raised.

    • The staff member will meet with his or her supervisor at the end of the probationary term to determine whether the staff member’s probationary status will continue, end, or result in termination.

    • A copy of the probation letter is maintained in the personnel file of the Resident Assistant.

      Termination of Duties
      The following circumstances can result in a termination of duties:

      • Judicial sanction resulting from a violation of the Code of Student Conduct
      • Convictions or charges for criminal offenses
      • Staff member presents a clear and present danger to him/herself and/or others
      • Consistent failure to meet job expectations
      • Gross negligence in any area of the job description (examples include, but are not limited to):Misuse, abuse, or loss of University keys/access cards
      • Theft of University property or services (e.g., telecommunications long-distance or personal security codes) • Violations of the Code of Student Conduct
      • Tampering with U.S. Mail
      • Failure to complete expectations outlined during a probationary period
      • Violation of RA Substance Use Policy or being under the influence of alcohol or other drugs while performing RA duties.

      Whenever a staff member’s employment is being terminated, the following will be a part of the process:

      • The staff member will be informed of performance violations and be given an opportunity to respond prior to being issued a disciplinary letter. RAs may bring a RA Union representative with them to meetings where personnel matters will be discussed.

      • Performance concerns will be outlined in writing as a part of the termination letter.

      • The Residential Life Department’s appeal process will be outlined in the termination letter. (See below for appeal process.) Suspension of Duties/Relocation from the Assigned Resident Assistant Room: When disciplinary action is being considered by a supervisor, a Resident Assistant may be suspended from duties and/or relocated from the assigned Resident Assistant room during the investigation of the incident, during any judicial procedures that may be taking place as the result of the incident, and during termination and appeal procedures.

        Some examples of when a staff member may be suspended from duties and/or relocated include:

        • The staff member presents a clear and present danger to him/herself and/or others
        • The presence of the staff member presents a potential serious disruption of rules and regulations within the cluster
        • Arrest, charges or convictions for criminal offenses • Alleged violations of the Code of Student Conduct

          In cases in which a staff member is being suspended and/or relocated, the staff member will receive in writing the grounds for the suspension and/or relocation, any conditions of suspension and/or relocation, and a timeline for when the case will be reviewed and an outcome determined. An RA who is suspended from duties will remain on payroll until the point when a final decision regarding the status of their employment is determined.

          Cancellation of Employment Contract
          The Resident Assistant contract can be immediately canceled by Residential Life if the RA no longer meets the minimum qualifications for the position. These include but are not limited to:

          • Withdrawal from a degree program, failure to enroll as a student at the University
          • Failure to maintain the minimum cumulative grade-point average
          • Inability to attend required pre- and/or in-service training programs

          The RA must vacate his/her room within seven days of the effective date of the contract cancellation. Exceptions to this policy will be determined on a case by case basis dependent upon the reason of termination and the potential disruption to the floor community. The staff member will be informed in writing of the cancellation of the contract.

          Housing Reassignment
          The RA must vacate her/his room within seven days of the effective date of termination or resignation. Exceptions to this policy will be determined on a case by case basis dependent upon the reason for termination and the potential disruption to the floor community. The A/RD will contact the Housing Assignments Office to inform them of the personnel action and to notify them that the student may be contacting them for housing. Residential Life reserves the right to limit the building and/or area where a former staff member may reside; the former staff member will not be reassigned to the cluster where she or he served as an RA. The room rent waiver is invalid beginning the effective date of termination and the former RA will be responsible for paying the remainder of the room rent. The RD will also notify the Area Office Manager indicating that the RA should be removed from payroll effective from the termination date. The RD will also notify the RERC Office Manager who will alert the Housing Assignments Office.

          The Appeal Process
          The purpose of an appeal is to provide an opportunity for the RA to have his or her case reviewed by a member of the Residence Education Leadership team. The Department is committed to reviewing each case fairly and with appropriate consistency, in accordance with the procedures outlined. An appeal will only be considered for review when it is based on one or more of the following criteria:

          1. New information that was not available at the time of the original review.
          2. Evidence of bias by the staff member who made the original decision.
          3. Procedural irregularity.

            Appeal Process Steps
            1. Upon receiving a notice of termination, the RA may file a written appeal to the Assistant Director of his or her choice (within five working days of the effective date of termination) outlining the basis for the appeal.

            2. The RA may request a conference with the chosen Assistant Director to clarify the letter of appeal and/or the appeal process.

            3. The chosen Assistant Director will act as the contact person for the RA during the appeal process. The role of the chosen Assistant Director is as follows:

            • To determine if one or more of the criteria are evident in the appeal. The Assistant Director will not consider the appeal unless one or more of the criteria are evident.

            • If one or more of the criteria are not evident, the Assistant Director will inform the Resident Assistant in writing that the appeal is not being considered.

            • If one or more of the criteria are evident, the Assistant Director will review the case and follow the appeal guidelines.

            • To collect any additional information that is necessary to determine an outcome (the Assistant Director may schedule meetings with the RA and/or the supervisor) • To present the appeal to the Residence Education Leadership team for review.

            • To serve as contact person to the RA as may be necessary and appropriate during the review period.

            • To make the final determination in the case and author the decision letter. A decision letter will be written within seven working days of the appeal, unless extenuating circumstances are involved; in such a case, the Assistant Director will render a status report to the RA.

            • To be the initiator of any communication to the appropriate parties regarding the final disposition of the appeal review. Following the written decision, the Assistant Director of origin resumes responsibility for personnel activity that may be relevant to the decision.

              RA staff members are removed from payroll during the appeal process. Payment will be terminated on the date of the termination letter. Should the termination decision be overturned during the appeal process, the RA will receive retroactive payment from the date of termination.

              Six Tips for Constructing a Letter of Appeal
              If you are writing a letter of appeal, consider the following tips as you prepare:

              1. Write a paragraph briefly stating “who you are”; the purpose of this information is to establish a personal-character point of reference.

              2. Read the appeal process carefully and make sure that your appeal is based on one or more of the appeal criteria.

              3. Clearly, but succinctly make your appeal. Focus the attention on your actions and the facts of the case.

              4. An appeal is a request for a review of the decision. Avoid the use of antagonistic language or descriptions that are inaccurate, deceptive, or that might be perceived as vindictive. Do not clutter your letter of appeal with irrelevant details and/or petty accusations; these only reflect unnecessary defensiveness. On the other hand, you should mention if you honestly perceive that you have experienced interpersonal conflicts with your supervisor, stating the nature of the conflict and what you did to attempt to resolve the problem. Remember, you are making a request for review, take care that your letter reads accordingly.

              5. If there is an eyewitness who may be able to substantiate your point of view on the basis of the facts, you may include a signed statement from the witness (you should inform this person that all written information will be fully disclosed and made available to the appeal panel).

              6. If you remember a fact significant to your case after having submitted your letter of appeal, but before you receive the final appeal decision, contact the Assistant Director that you have chosen to represent your case and request that you be able to submit an addendum to your original letter. A decision will be made to include or not to include the new information as part of the on-file documentation.

                While you await the outcome of the appeal process, you should know that your behavior and attitude will be under close scrutiny. Avoid activity that may cast doubt concerning your intent and desire to meet job expectations. Demonstrate professionalism, good character, and maturity through your actions to the end of whatever outcome.

                RAs Who Are Not Rehired
                A Resident Assistant’s performance or behavior during a current contract period may not have necessitated immediate personnel action such as probation or termination. However, the Resident Assistant may have demonstrated poor performance. In such cases, the Resident Assistant shall not return for the next contract year as an employee of Residential Life in the capacity of Resident Assistant. The RA will receive a written statement of reasons for not being rehired for the next contract year and information about the review process for the decision not to rehire. The RA may request that the Assistant Director review the decision with them. If not satisfied at that level, the RA may request that the Director of Residence Education review the decision.