Inside Story/Joke

“This one year at an RA training, all the RAs in the system were together in the lecture hall in Taper. And they were giving their presentations on the rules and regulations on the job. And this one area director was giving a presentation on RA-Residents’ relationships and whether or not that would be, you know allowed because that’s a bit of an undefined gray area….um, whether or not it’s like an abuse of power sorta thing and is it a conflict of interest if an RA is interested in dating one of the residents. And the way he defined the rule was he said that ‘If it’s true love, like that’s ok. But true love shouldn’t be happening everyday. So you know, we shouldn’t be dating residents all the time ‘cause that would be bad. But you know, if we were to approach a resident and say Hello! Susie! Um, I think you’re really neat. And I would like to get to know you at a different capacity.’ Um, and then I think at the point, after he said that I think you’re neat and I’d like to know you at a different capacity, the entire room burst out in laughter and that line has become kinda an inside joke for all the RAs and it has shown up in RA skits, and RA films, and basically just whenever we need a laugh we would go up to someone and say ‘Hey! I think you’re neat. I’d like to get to know you at a different capacity.’ Basically this is basically an inside joke you’d know if you’re an RA or if somehow you’re involved in their offices. I’m sure that this joke will come up again this Fall because that rule is gone over at every training. And so I’m sure that when they go over that rule this Fall, they will mention that joke again and if they don’t I will kindly remind them of it.”

This traditional anecdote serves as a way to give identity to new RAs because it’s a form of inclusion and a way of excluding nonmembers. Only RAs would know about this funny story so knowledge of this story makes new RAs feel like they are part of the group and strengthens their bond. This topic also reflects a taboo of intimate relationships between RAs and residents. It’s similar to issues of an employer dating an employee. It is expected that the relationship should be kept professional but at the same time, some people may find it wrong for companies to forbid relationships because it should be a personal decision. It seems more difficult for RAs to justify the relationship because there is no way of separating work from home life because their duty is to deal with personal conflicts in problems in students’ residences.