February 24, 2012
As Aretha Franklin sang, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me.” This rings true, especially for me and the other staff in my department this year. I’m not sure if it’s this generation of students or perhaps just the students at my institution, but the lack of respect toward professional staff and each other has declined.
If you ask any of my friends or colleagues, they’ll tell you I’m mostly a positive person that occasionally vents my frustrations, and then I move on. I always do my best to respect what people are saying, even if I happen to disagree.
Lately, I have seen more students blatantly ignoring a staff member’s request to be quiet in our residence halls or ignoring the simple respect level that should be expected. We’ve even had some staff members on the receiving end of students swearing and screaming at them for no reason. While we don’t tolerate this behavior, it still occurs.
For example, I can’t tell you how many times students will see me in my office on a phone call (whether personal or work related), and they will just come in and sit down and wait for me to be finished. Other times, I will have students that will knock while I’m on the phone or in a meeting and interrupt me because they “need” something. Since I’m at a small school, we don’t have an administrative assistant or anyone that prevents this. While I’m all for customer service and trying to help each student as much as possible, it has become increasingly frustrating when I can’t even eat my lunch without someone interrupting because they “just have a quick question.”
While I’m sure this post seems like I’m just complaining, I decided to write about this not because I want sympathy, but in hopes that others have seen this and have some good advice on how to approach the topic. We recently brought in a speaker to talk about civility and respect that we required all of our students living on campus to attend. He did have a positive effect on many of our students. A good amount of students stayed after the program to speak with him,
and we even received some emails saying that what he talked about resonated
with them. I still noticed that some didn’t pay attention and were even being rude and making jokes during the presentation.
While I know this isn’t an easy fix, and certainly we are always going to have some students that just don’t appreciate others and what they bring to the conversation, this experience has taught me to be more patient, but also more strict about “my time.”
Do you have this type of issue on your campus? How do you address it?
is the Associate Dean for Campus Activities & Orientation at Albertus Magnus College.
Erin has responsibilities in advising student organizations, including the programming board and student government, and supervising department student employees. She oversees the Albertus@Night late night programming series, and serves as the Director of New Student Orientation.