The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, January 26, 1973, Page PAGE 2, Image 2

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Swerdlow: SAs keep staff aware of issues
This is the second of a two-part series on UNL
student assistants.
by Mary Lundak ,
Student assistants (SA's) have been called the
"fingers of the administration's hand in residence
halls." The question is, however, are they a cleanched
fist of power or an open hand with information?
SA's perform both tasks at UNL, according to
UNL Assistant Housing Director, Ken Swerdlow.
'The SA is the closest University staff member to
the students who can keep the administration aware
of real student issues," he said.
"They are partially trained for counseling and are
able to direct the student elsewhere for more
information," Swerdlow said. "It is important for the
freshman to know someone fairly close who knows
the agencies and can feel his heeds."
Although an SA performskpolicing duties, "It is
not their prime function and hopefully a minor one,"
Swerdlow said.
Less than five per cent of students living in
residence halls receive formal disciplinary action, he
said. The SA acts as an observer and talks with
students when a case does come up, the SA is usually
a character witness and not the district attorney,
Swerdlow added.
Personal judgment is a major factor in the SA's
responsibilities. According to the housing official,
policies are spelled out, but an SA must determine
whether he will ignore an incident or not.
"It is hoped he has the honesty, integrity and
If 1 1
maturity to face the responsibility," Swerdlow added.
"We do have to use a lot of discretion," said one
student assistant. "We are the only form of authority
for day to day contact with the student but we still
have to live on the floor."
Another SA said he didn't like having to enforce
rules in which he didn't believe. Swerdlow said that as
an employe of the University the SA is obligated to
enforce rules, but may work within the normal
channels to change them.
Each spring and fall, the SA's attend workshops
and are oriented on campus policies. There is plenty
of time for a student to back out if he disagrees with
policies, Swerdlow said.
Another SA said he believes the feedback to the
housing office on policy decisions is not good. 'The
office is reluctant to meet with the SA. They have a
habit of making decisions with no input and they are
not receptive to responses afterwards," he said.
Eighty to 85 per cent of the decisions are made by
the program staff and residence directors, Swerdlow
said. The other 1 5 to 20 per cent of the decisions are
made by the professional staff.
"It is assumed that the residence director is in
touch with the SA and student government through
weekly staff meetings," he said.
Swerdlow added that no one has complained at
mid-year. All mid-year resignations occurred because
of graduation, another job or leaving school. The
turnover rate is 50 per cent which Swerdlow said is
"quite low." He said he does not believe the rate is a
bad reflection on housing office policy in dealing
with the SA's.
The only complaint that reached the housing
office, according to Swerdlow, was that SA's were
not receiving parking stickers for lots near their dorm.
This problem was corrected, he added.
SA's have no union or formal organization that
meets periodically. The weekly staff meetings should
enable expression on different viewpoints Swerdlow
One SA said he believes it takes an important
event such as the visitation conflict last spring to pull
the SA's together as a campus group.
"We have our own lives to live and only have time
to socialize with the SA's in our dorm. The distance is
very real between the dorms and the SA's of each
dorm," he said.
Another SA said he opposed the idea that
"information received from a student must be
communicated to the residence director."
Swerdlow said the rule was made to. help students.
He said an SA must neage on u.B
"confidential." . .
There is a difference, he said, between day to day
problems and hints of suicide that might be tn a
student's mind. The SA is responsible for obtaining
proper help for the student. The rules also prevent
the possibility of law suits against an SA or UNL for
concealing information, Swerdlow added.
Another SA complaint was that student teachers
would not be allowed to be assistants beginning in
1973. Swerdlow said he believes the policy is not
"The SA position is a job for so much work for so
much pay. We can set the criteria for our people,"
Swerdlow said. "Based on past experience, student
teaching requires too much time away from the dorm
in teaching and preparation. A student cannot do the
job properly with this outside interest."
According to one SA, assistants perform the job to
the best of their capabilities. "If we didn't do it, then
no one else would," she added.
Perhaps an SA's position at UNL is best described
by one SA who said, "You have to be confident,
flexible and independent. You have to be everywhere
and be able to get alone with everyone, but still be
able to come back to yourself."
daily ncbroskon
Editor-in-Chief : Tom Lansworth, Managing Editor:
Cheryl Westcott. Newi Editor: Michael (O.J.) Nelson.
Special Editor: Jim Gray. Sports Editor: Dave Sittler.
Photography Chief: Gail Folda. Night Newt Editor: Ron
The Daily Nebraskan it written, edited and managed
by itudentt at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. It It
editorially Independent of the Univertity faculty,
administration and student body.
The Daily Nebraikan it published by the Publications
Committee on Monday, Wednetday, Thursday and Friday
throughout the fall and spring semesters except holidays
and vacations.
Copyright 1973, The Daily Nebraskan. The Daily
Nebraskan reserves rights to all editorial material
produced by Its staff, excepting material covered by
another copyright.
Second cless postage paid at Lincoln, Nebraska.
Address: The Daily Nebraskan34 Nebraska
Union1 4th & R StreetsLincoln, Nebr. 68508.
Telephone: 4024722588.
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some say he's dead...
some say he never will be.
bus uj&uaG it safs
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All checking accounts at the National Bank of Com
merce protect your money. And they keep it safe,
too. And NBC checking accounts pay your bills,
record those payments and act just like cash.
But NBC's ThriftiCheck is thrifty, too. If you don't
write a large amount of checks each month, or if
you don't want to keep a minimum balance, Thrifti
Check could be the checking account for you.
Why not stop by the closest bank to campus, the
National Bank of Commerce at 13th and O and ask
one of the friendly new accounts people about
ThriftiCheck means what it says.
Member FDIC
National BanEs of Coi
page 2
daily nebraskan
friday, january 26, 1973
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