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RCs settle into life in the quads

They were the ones overseeing each quad's check-in tables in the Intramural Building last week and the ones speaking at the first quad-wide meetings Sunday night.

And although students may not have met all eight residence coordinators yet, they are intent on making their presence known this year.

"The week has been long and full of information and meeting students," said Tegwin Millard, Few Quadrangle's RC. "We're all just kind of getting into a routine right now."

The eight RCs have been on campus since June, and their first impressions of the University are positive.

"It's a beautiful campus, and the student body is well-rounded and diverse," said Edens RC David Montag. A University of Buffalo graduate, Montag said moving from a public to a private university has been one of the biggest changes for both him and his colleagues, almost all of whom received student affairs-related masters degrees at state schools across the country.

"At Duke, there are a lot more resources," Montag added. "It's a little bit easier to get what students need here."

Under the new residential system, each quad has its own RC, who is responsible for working with quad councils on programming, being on call for crisis intervention and overseeing residential advisers and graduate assistants. They will also share judicial responsibility for residence hall-related issues.

RCs are required to spend 20 hours per week in their quad offices or at related meetings, and another 20 hours meeting with other staff members and overseeing events in their quad, West-Edens Link RC Stephanie Carter said.

Although quad programming was initially billed as one of the RCs' primary responsibilities, most said they are initially allowing their RAs and GAs to do most of the planning.

"In the first couple weeks, our RAs will be organizing get-to-know-you type events, so students in the quad can familiarize themselves with each other," said Craven RC Norman Wallace.

All of the RCs said that within the next month, they will primarily turn their attention to academic programming. "I want to focus on bringing this awesome academic institution into our halls," Montag said. "We want professors to feel free to come and meet with students in the dorms."

Wallace said he and his quad staff hope to hold intellectual events, such as discussion dinners with professional school faculty, but stressed that he and his staff would look to students first for ideas.

"I would like to do a lot of different types of programming, especially some that raise awareness and respect for different cultures and diversity," Crowell/Wannamaker RC Terry Lynch added.

With the addition of a new residence staff member, some students have expressed concern about another level of "policing" on Friday and Saturday nights when parties begin to rage.

"I don't foresee it being my job to police anyone," Carter said. "I'm here to make sure everyone is safe and making good judgments.... We've all learned that there is a huge alcohol culture here at Duke. It's so ingrained in the students here, we're not coming in to change that."

Carter's colleagues agreed, noting their job on the weekends is to make sure residents in their quads party responsibly. "I'm not going to be at the parties," Millard said. "I don't have time to be the police person. I just want to make things are safe for everyone."

Wallace said the RCs will have some judicial responsibility for minor violations such as excessive noise problems, first-time alcohol policy violations and roommate conflicts.

"I anticipate that there may be a mistrust of the RCs, but once we get going in the semester and [students] see what we are doing, I hope that mistrust will wane away," he added.