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Residence Life

Information for Community Assistants (CAs) and Head Community Assistants (HCAs)

What is my role in the disciplinary process?

As a staff member, after confronting an incident, you should:

  • Meet with all involved students to ensure that they understand why their behavior was confronted and documented

  • Explain the policies related to the incident and the rationales behind them

  • Share your perspective of the incident, ask for each student’s perspective, and ask how the students are feeling

  • Discuss behaviors and actions, not personalities

  • Explain that the students will meet with the residence/graduate director to determine consequences for their behavior(s) or be referred to the formal judicial process

What important things should I remember?

  • Your residence/graduate director will decide how to respond to an incident. Please don’t make promises about something that is out of your control.

  • CAs and HCAs are only informed of the results of an IRC or judicial hearing if they were physically victimized during the incident or if they are involved in the judicial sanction. Federal law limits the sharing of judicial information.

  • Your residence/graduate director has the responsibility to collect and follow up on all facts and circumstances surrounding an incident.

  • Confidentiality by all participants is very important throughout the entire disciplinary process

Why as a CA/HCA am I extremely important in IUP’s disciplinary process?

  • You are the “front line” respondent to incidents.

  • You decide whether or not to confront an incident.

  • You decide whether or not to document an incident.

  • You can either calm or escalate incidents, depending on your approach.

  • You write incident reports and therefore control information flow.

  • You are in the best position to follow up with residents after an incident.

  • You serve as witnesses in judicial proceedings and can impact hearing decisions.

How can I maximize my effectiveness in the area of discipline?

  • Get to know your residents before an incident occurs.

  • Be direct and honest about policies and consequences for violating them at floor meetings.

  • Encourage residents to read the housing license agreement, the student handbook, and “Choices/Changes.”

  • Confront policy violations without demeaning or insulting residents.

  • Ensure that residents know why their behavior was confronted/documented.

  • Talk with residents about an incident, not at them.

  • Explain that the GRD/RD will determine consequences for behavior.

  • Treat information confidentially and avoid gossiping.

  • Trust that your GRD/RD will handle follow-up appropriately.

Where does my role as a CA/HCA in discipline end?

Once you’ve confronted an incident and provided information to the resident(s) and your G/RD, it’s time to let your G/RD do her/his job:

  • The G/RD investigates an incident and determines the appropriate response.

  • The G/RD decides if an IRC, a judicial hearing, or no action is warranted.

  • The G/RD or hearing officer only communicates the results of an incident if you are physically victimized or involved in the disciplinary sanction.

Incident Report Writing

How should I write an incident report?

  • Note specifics of the incident, including details on “who, what, when, where, and how.”

  • Include only factual information and never speculate or editorialize. 

  • Quote what people say exactly and completely even if the words seem offensive, vulgar, or embarrassing.

  • Never offer an opinion on what should happen to the student as a result of the incident.

  • Complete all sections on the incident report form, and remember to indicate “a.m.” or “p.m.” in the time section.

  • Limit any notation of student ID numbers to the top of the incident report form.

  • Remember that the accused student is likely to read the incident report and/or obtain a copy.

  • Keep all information confidential.

If an incident report is poorly written and does not meet the criteria listed above, your supervisor will return it to you and require you to rewrite the report.

Sample Incident Report Written Correctly

9-13-09   11:45 PM     a.m.   p.m.
Date of Incident   Time of Incident    
XXX Sample Hall
Location of Incident (be specific)

NATURE OF INCIDENT: (Check all that apply)

Alcohol Arrest Assault Drugs Facilities
  Health Safety   Medical   Harassment   Noise   Theft
  FYI   Other:  

STUDENT(S) INVOLVED: (Attach additional sheet if necessary)

NAME   ADDRESS   ID# (above I-Card picture)
Adam Ant   234 Sample Hall   (ID# 0000000000000)


On September 13, 2009, while on routine rounds, I, Joanna Blue (RA 2nd fl. Sample Hall), and Bob Brady (RA 7th fl. Sample Hall) heard noise coming from room 234 Sample Hall from the end of the hallway (four doors away). We went to the room and knocked while identifying ourselves as RAs. Adam came to the door after about five minutes and we stated that we could hear the music down the hall and that it was 11:45 p.m. and quiet hours were in effect. Adam turned down the music and I stated that we would be documenting the incident to give to the building director since he had been warned twice before. Adam said, “whatever.” I told him that I was willing to discuss the incident after I finished rounds or tomorrow morning. Adam was compliant throughout the whole incident, although he did not understand why he was being documented.

Joanne Blue/Bob Brady   Date: 9/13/08
Signature of Person Completing Report:


Staff   Other  
Graduate/Residence Director Signature   Date


DISTRIBUTION: One Copy each to G/RD; Associate Director of Res Life, Other G/RD; OSC

Components of a Successful Confrontation

As a CA/HCA, what should my goals be for confrontations?

  • To gather factual information

  • To confront behavior(s) quickly and directly

  • To help the resident understand why a change is necessary by providing rationale

  • To decrease inappropriate behavior and increase appropriate behavior

How do I successfully confront an incident?

  • Develop a positive, open relationship with residents before a confrontation is necessary.

  • Always respond to problematic situations/policy violations.

  • Be assertive, not aggressive or passive.

  • Be aware of your feelings and keep them in check or find another staff member to handle the situation.

  • Be clear, honest, direct, and nonjudgmental.

  • Be specific when defining the problem/issue.

  • Deal with present behaviors only, not past behaviors.

  • Never make a deal with a student.

  • Confront individuals (not groups) by isolating a key person.

  • Focus attention on behaviors, not personality, values, or other personal characteristics.

  • Request assistance as necessary (other CAs, HCA, CSAs, G/RDs, etc.).

  • Never swear, yell, make accusations or threats, adopt an aggressive attitude, or otherwise escalate the problem.