The residential learning environment is a daily opportunity for students to explore differences and witness diversity of thought, perspective and experience in action. For many, it may be the first time they have had to share space with others. This sharing requires they learn how to live cooperatively with others, effectively articulate their viewpoints and needs, and learn to manage conflict through the interactions they have with other residents in their halls.
As your student adjusts to life on campus and living in the residence halls, there can be social adjustments and concerns about roommates and living situations. It often happens that you may hear of a roommate conflict before we do. This can be distressing and you may be tempted to take care of the situation yourself. The best approach is to listen and support your student and let them address the issue(s). This often leads to a successful solution. Trained staff members are available to offer assistance and to mediate conflicts if necessary, but only after all perspectives are heard. Do not assume the Office of Residence Life knows about the situation if your student has not spoken to his/her RA about it.
Communication is a key factor in avoiding and resolving roommate conflicts. Here are some tips to guide your student in the right direction towards roommate conflict resolution.
- If potential for a conflict arises, encourage your student to talk about the issue immediately with the roommate rather than let things go until it leads to resentment.
- Let your student lead the conversation, listen to what they have to say, and avoid being judgmental.
- Find out if all of the roommates have a signed roommate agreement and ask if they have reviewed it together recently.
- Ask if the roommates have sat down together and communicated their feelings freely with one another.
- If your student has tried the above strategies with their roommate(s), ask if they have discussed the situation with their RA or Area Coordinator. If not, encourage them to do so. Residence Life cannot assist with a conflict if they do not know about it.
View a copy of the 2014-2015 Roommate Agreement.
To contact the Office of Residence Life, phone 216-397-4408 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.