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Residence Hall Association’s powers disappearing

Haleigh Svoboda

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The Residence Hall Association at St. Edward’s University recently announced its newly elected officers for the 2010-2011 year.

But new legislation from the Student Government Association could cut back the responsibilities and authority of these recently elected students.

RHA was once the only organization that represented campus residents in matters affecting them; however, SGA recently passed legislation that will add senate seats to give increased representation to on-campus students despite the presence of RHA.

The purpose of RHA is to improve campus living by hosting events and creating an opportunity for students to express concerns with living on campus.

The Proposal

The SGA bill, S.B. 02, creates a senate seat in SGA for each resident hall, as well as the apartments. Under this bill, the members of each hall will elect a representative who lives in their hall to be a senator in SGA. The first election for SGA hall representatives will be next fall.

SGA President Meghan Kuentz said SGA is equipped to represent the students living within the residence halls.

“SGA is already set up and has the infrastructure to represent students,” Kuentz said.Kuentz, who helped found RHA, said the organization was originally created to represent student issues, but it soon evolved to incorporate the planning of on-campus events.

“RHA recognizes that [representation] is not their function anymore,” Kuentz said.

Joseph Andrews, RHA advisor, and Karen Gibson, associate director of Residence Life, were unaware of the passage of the SGA bill. Andrews said that he was under the impression that the purpose of RHA was to both plan events and to represent students.

RHA Election

The elections for RHA ended Feb. 17, and the results of the election were released Feb. 22.

Students elected Gaby Flores to the position of president, and Nathan Collins was elected to the position of national communications coordinator. Two candidates ran uncontested, making Andrea Blanco the vice president and Melissa Garcia the programming liaison.

No students submitted applications to run for the positions of secretary or treasurer. These positions were offered to two students who ran for other positions but lost, which is in accordance with the RHA Constitution. Colleen White accepted the position of treasurer, and Jamie Pierce became secretary.

The use of an online ballot in this year’s RHA elections increased voter turnout. This year, 129 students cast votes, which is more than twice the number of students who voted last year, according to Gibson.

Still, others were less optimistic about the election. Zac Peal, the SGA executive senator of the schools, said he did not like that there was a lack of advertising for the election, and voting was only open for one day.

“Developing nations the world over would be appalled by the standards set by the RHA elections,” Peal said.


In the past, RHA held elections by setting up tables in Ragsdale for students to cast their votes.

The events held by RHA differ from those held by the residence assistants in the residence halls in that students living in multiple residence halls may be the target audience for an RHA event.

“What we have been working on this year is a large-scale event scheduling targeted to on campus students,” said Andrews.

Some events held by RHA last semester include the Hall Olympics and the Halloween Block party held at Dujarié Hall, Basil Moreau Hall and the Casas. RHA is planning a NCAA watch party this semester at Le Mans Hall and Hunt Hall on April 5.

For students who are interested, RHA holds meetings every Tuesday on the third floor of Ragsdale at 9 p.m. The next meeting will be March [email protected]

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Residence Hall Association’s powers disappearing