Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Junior Housing Lottery Resolution

RHA Supported, 41:1 with 0 abstentions, to revise the 3rd Year Housing Lottery. While still maintaining the randomness and blindness of the lottery, this resolution supports structuring it so those with up to one probation are higher in the lottery system than those with two or more. Remember Lottery System is different than priority system . Below is some clarification as to what a probation really is and what this resolution supports.

If the Dept of Resident Life adopts our revisions, they will take place for next year's lottery.


Josef K. Mensah
RHA President

[The following is an excerpt from RHA Senate Meeting 04/13/2010, recorded by Corie Stretton, RHA Administrative Officer]

Resolution YEL005

· Title: A Resolution Supporting a Junior Lottery System Based on Severity and Number of Infractions ·

Summary: Those with two probations or more be lowered in the Junior Lottery System and those who are already on probation entering the next academic year, will have to receive one more probation in order for lower placement.

· Clarification on Terminology

o A-Level Violation

§ The most serious ResLife violation. Examples include violence against another resident and marijuana.

o Probation

§ Examples include underage drinking and noise complaints. Technically, individually they are B-violations, but they are usually combined and called a probation.

o Receiving a violation

§ A-level violations require a hearing and being found responsible for the violation.

§ Probations are given after you speak to your RD about the situation, and you may be placed on probation.

o There isn’t any confusion for students who receive either of these violations. They know whether they are on probation or have an A-level violation.

o Questions:

§ Who determines when you are put on probation?

· It comes down to the RD’s decision.

§ Can you describe what “found responsible” means?

· It would depend on your hearing. It’s equivalent to being found guilty.

§ Nothing has really changed in the resolution, right?

· Not really, we just changed the vocabulary. There aren’t any major substantive changes.

§ What if I was having a party in my room and had three B-level violations at once? Would I go on probation three separate times?

· No, you would have one probation for the entire event.

§ You can get a noise violation without being on probation, right?

· Yes. You will get a letter if you’re on probation.

· Questions:

o Can you clarify the distinction again referring to grandfathering violations?

§ There’s two groups of people. People who commit violations after this is passed, and people who committed violations before this passed. The second group as a “one strike and you’re out” view, where if you’re put on probation one more time you’re out. The first group will be out if they have an A-level violation or are put on probation.

o How is this different from how it currently is? How is the lottery numbers different than priority numbers.

§ Lottery numbers are assigned to all rising third year students to let them know if they are invited back to housing, they are now randomly assigned. Priority numbers are assigned after it is determined you can live on campus.

o If someone committed a violation once before this resolution passes, then they get one more chance before it affects them? What if they’ve been put on probation twice?

§ The resolution says one or more. Even if you’re committed several, you still get one last chance, and if you get one more violation then you’re [lowered on the list].

o How will students be informed about this?

§ It will become a part of Dept of Resident Life policy, and will be explained when you’re told how you can be kicked out of housing.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Justification for DMK004 2010

Justification for DMK004 2010
A Resolution to Support the Creation of a Department of Transportation Services (DOTS) shuttle route to the New Carrollton Metro Station. The resolution Passed 27:11:2.

There has been quite a bit of discussion in regards to the creation of a new DOTS shuttle bus route to New Carrolton metro station. I am happy that students, faculty and staff have voiced their concerns about discontinuing both the Campus Connector North and Campus Connector South bus routes.

The first point of contention is the idea that there once was a shuttle, a few years back to New Carrollton metro. This is correct and the shuttle was discontinued due to the lack of ridership. However, since, DOTS has changed many shuttle routes to the surrounding areas and there are no shuttles to that particular area of prince Georges County. It is both important for sustainability and DOTS that there be less cars on campus, and a shuttle to a new area will help reduce the number of cars on campus. There are also great benefits to a New Carrollton shuttle that include having greater accessibility to the Amtrak, the MARC Penn line, and the metro Orange line.

It is also worth noting that RHA, the voice of on-campus students have taken the position that it may be worthwhile to loose on-campus shuttles in favor of adding one for commuting students, faculty, staff. Ridership on both campus connector busses has been low for quite a while and though the busses serve the campus during the day, the busses do not run frequently enough to be used to reliably go from one area of the campus to another. Though Campus Connector North will be discontinued, the New Carrollton shuttle will stop at various places on Route One, that will run more frequently than Campus Connector South.

Overall, the loss of the campus connector shuttles are a small price to pay in exchange of a new shuttle that will not only save money for commuting individuals, but may serve as a help for individuals whom do not have convenient transformation to campus.

Debbie Kobrin
South Campus Commons Senator
Transportation Advisory Committee Chairperson

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Response to "A Lotto Trouble"

Response to A Lotto Trouble:

I am very glad that after last Tuesday's Senate meeting, the issue of the Rising Third Year Housing Lottery has received attention. As a supporter who voted for the Lottery System at its conception as is, I must say that this year's RHA Senate did a very good job analyzing and unpacking the intended and unintended consequences of the resolution presented. After voting, many RHA members expressed interest in looking into the issue much deeper.

The statement by the Diamondback staff editorial that there is "ambivalence and lack of initiative" on the RHA's part is simply untrue. This editorial probably would not be published without the RHA taking initiative in discussing the matter first. No RHA Senator has drafted an alternative resolution because the first was presented just five days ago! They have yet to have the opportunity to meet within their respective committees and garner as much student input as possible.

Students have just begun contacting their RHA representatives about the Housing Lottery, sharing their opinions and proposing what they would like to see done e-mail, facebook, and hall council meetings.

The RHA prides itself on being the voice of resident students. The conversation pertaining to the Housing Lottery has just begun to get interesting and resident students and their RHA representatives are heavily engaged and using time wisely in order to address the issue with the utmost care.

Our next Senate Meeting is December 8, 2009 in the Benjamin Banneker Room of the Stamp Student Union.

E-mail us at

This post written by:
Josef Mensah
RHA President

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What do YOU think?

There is SO much happening on campus, isn't there? The best part about it is that resident students can have a say on how things turn out.

Picking up the Diamondback every morning, there is always something going on and always something that the RHA can help you voice your concerns about.

Today in the Diamondback I read articles about two things:
Transportation and the gating of the Mowatt Garage from the Guilford Drive location (


The trash accumulating after Late Night (

I'll start with the garage. I don't speak for the entire RHA when I say this (though if you want the RHA to take a specific stance, you should let us know) but I think having the security back is great. This way we don't get random people coming onto our campus from the outside and unmarked but it is a bit inconvenient coming back after ten and having to drive the whole campus to park. What do YOU think?

Now for the issue of trash accumulating outside the dining halls. The beauty of late night and why the RHA advocated for it so many years ago was that students were still hungry after dinner time and because they called campus home, a (pre-)midnight snack should be available. At Late-Nite trays are not available, but what if more students ate in more? That way we all could dispose of trash in the containers that the dining staff controls. However, there have been many times where I want to run in and run out of late night just to get something to keep me satiated while studying.

So what's your take? What do you think? The RHA Meetings have standing meetings with Department of Transportation and Dining Services. What would you want US to say to THEM for YOU?! What stance on these issues would you want us to take?

Not comfortable sharing your name? Use our Honesty Box on FACEBOOK!! (

VOICE your opinion. BE INVOLVED!

-Josef Mensah
President, RHA

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The RHA votes to sign the Free Speech Letter

Resolution JMK001, 2009

A resolution Opposing Board of Regents Policy that would Discontinue the Right for the Residence Hall Association and Area Councils to Screen Any or All Films

Upon the approval of this resolution by the RHA Senate, the RHA will be added to the signatories of the Free Speech Letter drafted by the SGA.

Non-debateable questions:
Can you clarify what is meant in the final ‘therefore be it resolved’
That when choosing to show a movie at an RHA event, the host will take someone’s opinions into consideration if they think the movie shouldn’t be shown.

Where would the films in question be shown?
Anywhere: this would apply to films shown in Hoff or at events in Residence Halls.

Would these films be advertised?
If the person hosting the event wants to advertise, they must do it within the normal perimeters of Resident Life.

Do you think there will be a definition on “obscene”?
So far, there isn’t one, so we’re trying to be proactive in the event that there is a definition of obscene.

Keeping this decision to choose to show these movies in student power is important. It shouldn’t be deferred to the Board of Regents.

This is giving students the choice to see or not see a movie, no one is choosing for us what we can’t see.

This takes away a large part of our programming; residents should be able to get together and have a good time without having to find the educational component in the Office or a horror movie on Halloween.

This will take away from the establishment of community.

This resolution isn’t condoning the showing of pornography.

We are all adults. We can choose for ourselves.

This resolution supports that none of the current policy or practices will change.

It broadcasts the university in a bad light, especially if there is obscene signage.

We are opening ourselves to be criticized about every movie we show.

Even if this doesn’t mean we condone obscene movies, people still could get that impression.

This resolution passed 39:0:0

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Senate Minutes 9-29-09

Bill TCD001, 2009 Mixed Gendered Housing
: A Resolution to Move the Mixed Gendered Housing Program out of the Pilot Phase and into a Full Program under the Department of Resident Life

The RHA expresses its support of the Mixed Gendered Housing Program to the DRL through ReLATe and express its interest in being further involved in any decision needing to be made as the transition takes place.


Will moving this to permanent status allow this to expand to other residence halls?
Will moving it to a permanent status allow the program to expand within Commons and Courtyards?
Can you expand upon “data from participants that supports the success of the pilot program”
The Department of Resident Life has conducted surveys, mixers, and questionnaires in order to collect feedback from participants, all of which was positive
What were the goals of the program?
The purpose of this program was to allow friends of different genders to live together in one apartment
What is the application like?
The application includes your name and the names of the people you want to live with and why you want to live with them
The application is almost the same as the regular application to live in Commons/Courtyards
Have they had anyone try to move out halfway during the year because of unsatisfactory circumstances?
No, the only issues they have had so far was with one person choosing to study abroad for a semester
Why 64 spots?
DRL had to limit the number of apartments pulled out of open leasing
It is hard to find open apartments in Commons/Courtyards

Voting Ratio
Passed 30:0:4

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Your 2009 - 2010 RHA Councils

We on the RHA Exec Board was wondering if YOU knew who your hall council was.

Did you know we’ve already had our FIRST Senate Meeting and YOU could’ve been there? [Read up on it here: search RHA]

If you don’t know who we are or what we do, we can’t best advocate for you!

Your hall council is comprised of a president, a couple of vice-presidents, and two or more senators that work to put together programs for your hall or area and vote on your behalf in the RHA Senate.

Your hall/area council president is your hall/area visionary and makes sure your hall council functions efficiently and is doing what it can for you.

Your Vice Presidents are charged with a certain area of concentration, like the Vice President of Communication should be making sure you know what’s going on as far as events and important votes; your Vice President of Community Development may take the lead on putting together the event; and your Vice President of Sustainability is in charge of looking for new ways to keep the RHA and your hall/area sustainable. Some councils have other Vice Presidents like the Vice Presidents of Finance position.

Your Senators are at a Senate meeting every other Tuesday night, voting on whether to support or oppose campus policy that more than likely will affect you! Last Tuesday it was Mixed Gendered Housing in the Commons and Courtyards apartment, next meeting it could be (and SHOULD BE) something that YOU care about.

Some halls or areas might have floor reps which make it easier to get information to you and FROM you which is a very important aspect of what we do!

So you don’t know your council? It’s time you did! Here are your representatives to the RHA for the 2009 – 2010 school year.

To contact anyone, please e-mail!

RHA Overall Executive Board

Josef Mensah, President

Travis Durepo, Vice President

Julie Hudnet, Administrative Officer

Richard Solaski, Finance Officer

Uneeb Qureshi, Chief Information Officer

Ellen Farr, Student Groups Liaison

Samantha Lengyel, Public Relations and Outreach Officer

Mitchell Amoros, National Communications and Special Events Chairperson

Senators At-Large*

Senator At-Large Sean Collins

Senator At-Large Stanton Hudja

Senator At-Large James Galatola

Senator At-Large Justin Hudnet

Belair-Cambridge-Chestertown (BCC) Area Council

President Afareen Rezvani

Vice President of Programming Sam Lewis

Vice President of Communications Jillian Buchheim

Vice President of Membership Leslie Mok

Vice President of Finance Yasmin Amiri

Vice President Sustainability Liz Blankenhorn

Senator Damien Pinkett

Senator Marcela Lima

Advisor Ashlei Tobin-Robertson

Centreville Hall Council

President Chelsea Yin

Vice President of Communications & Finance Kevin Ludwig

Vice President of Programming and Community Development Guergana Stoytcheva

Vice President of Public Relations Nick Duong

Vice President of Sustainability Christopher Mertens

Senator Li min Kuan

Senator Sasha Azar

Advisor Danielle Nied

Commons Area Council

President Anna Leary

Vice President of Communications Scott Roberts

Vice President of Finance Kristen Peterson

Senator Debbie Kobrin

Senator Casey Anis

Senator Lauren Shipton

Senator Kiara Carty

Senator Yoni Levy

[Senator Position Open]

[Senator Position Open]

Advisor Stella Okeke

Courtyards Area Council

President Bridget Gallagher

Vice President of Communication Courtney Buchanan

Senator Josh Griner

[Senator Position Open]

CA Liaison Michael Currie

Advisor Victor Lee

Cumberland Hall Council

President Catherine Williams

Vice President of Communication Carlos Walmsley

Vice President of Sustainability Drew Needham

Senator Laith Abu-Taleb

Senator April Vesely

Advisor Joshua Beeson

Denton Hall Council

President Manas Kulkarni

Vice President of Administration Emily Kleiman

Vice President of Community Development Michael Ravitch

Vice President of Finance Pratik Dixit

Vice President of Publicity and Out-reach Elizabeth McLellan

Senator Mohammad Zia

Senator Rachel Kenigsberg

Advisor Cory Hibbetts

E-mail Denton Hall Council at

Easton Hall Council

President Michelle Ferrare

Vice President for Communication Matthew McKay

Vice President for Community Development and Programming Allison Palmadesso

Vice President of Sustainability Devun Pahwa

Senator Deep Mahapatra

[Senator Position Open]

Advisor Kevin Pitts

Elkton Hall Council

President Matthew Breitenother

Vice President of Communication Christian Gragasin

Vice President of Community Development Shakia Pennix

Senator Mike Lovaas

Senator Lance Haohan

Advisor Lisa Alexander

Ellicott Hall Council

President Crystal Wang

Vice President Communication Nikko Khuc

Vice President of Community Development Seth Backer

Vice President of Sustainability Nima Sarfaraz

Senator Justin Shugarman

Senator Jonathan Hoffman

Advisor Erin Shlegel

Hagerstown Hall Council

President Nina Rosenberg

Vice President of Communications Joan So

Vice President of Sustainability Akshay Gandhi

Senator Kayode Ogunsola

Senator Avishek Saha

Advisor Tiffany Gaines

La Plata Hall Council

President Martina Beshai

Vice President of Communications Shalesha Lake

Vice President of Finance Chul Kwon

Vice President of Sustainability Scott Cypen

Senator MacKenzie Campbell

Senator Brad Scott

Floor Representative Brendan Fennessy

Advisor Jeanni Simpson

Leanordtown Area Council

President Erika Roberge

Vice President of Communications Marc Karlinsky

Vice President of Community Development Kobena Waters

Senator Samantha Creange

Senator Amber Travis

Advisor Kelly Tavenner

North Hill Area Council (NHAC)

President Monique Robinson

Vice President for Communications Joshua Goldstein

Vice President for Community Development Janina Vaitkus

Vice President of Sustainability Eric Dai

Senator Jonathan Katz

Senator Corie Stretton

Senator Zohara Barth

Senator Nicolaus Krug

Advisor Mawine Diggs

South Hill Area Council (SHAC)

President Joshua Finifter

Vice President of Advocacy Roshan Shah

Vice President of Communication Benjamin Magno

Vice President of Finance John Ford

Vice President of Sustainability Amy Schwarzl

Senator Kathleen Hartinger

Senator Eric Harvey

Senator Matheos Yirga

Senator Laura Murphy

Senator Kerin Miller

Advisors Angie Major and O’Juan Edwards

Here’s to a great year everybody!

Josef Mensah, RHA President

*appointed by the RHA Vice President to represent entire campus.