Late last month, the campus hall secretary position was officially eliminated from the Department of University Housing.
According to Executive Director of Campus Housing Frank Cuevas, the secretaries were notified about 10 months ago that their position would be eliminated and they would need to find another job if they wanted to stay employed.
Former Resident Assistant Megan Cusick of Humes Hall said that for two years she really enjoyed working with her former campus hall secretary, and while she may have seemed to have a tough exterior, once Cusick got to know her she was quite friendly and warm.
The Daily Beacon cannot currently confirm who the specific campus hall secretaries in this story are, so their names will remain unavailable until further verification can be done.
"She knew everybody or recognized everybody within the year, and all the RAs joked around with her," Cusick said of the secretary. "She was kind of shy though. She didn't talk a whole lot, but she was friendly once you got to know her, and once she got to know you she was really friendly."
Cusick said that the secretary had a lot of interaction with students because she checked in all packages that arrived for students at the front desk and exchanged pleasantries to those who entered and exited throughout the day.
The secretary worked 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day and it took a major weight off of the RAs knowing that they could use that time to go to class or get done with homework. When she got off, it was usually a rotation of RAs throughout the night that would work the front desk.
Since the position is now gone, some have speculated that the RAs will have to take on a much bigger role in manning the front desk throughout the day. This will make for tougher studying times with more job responsibilities on the list, as well as a class schedule to work around.
Sophomore Cole Adams lived in Reese Hall last year and said he loved talking to the secretary at the front desk.
"She was always super outgoing and always very willing to help in any way possible," he said. "Usually going out of her way to do so."
Adams said that he saw her help residents numerous times and never with a sad or frustrated look on her face. She would even help him look for his VolCard at times when he had lost it and was looking for it in the lobby.
"She definitely seemed to have an interest in me, as well as my roommates and suitemates," he said.
Efficiency via technology was a main contributor to the position being eliminated. But not everyone is so excited about technology taking over personal touch.
"I don't know how an iPad will be able to do the job she did," Adams said. "That's not much of a replacement if you ask me. It's sad to hear. I think that almost everyone would rather have human interaction for help than to have to type in a question on an iPad or something similar."
Technology can do many things, but the personality side of it will be a tough aspect to replace. This has some people thinking that parents will be worried that there will be no secretary stationed at the desk during the day.
However, Cusick said she doesn't think it will affect the parents too much, because they already assume a lot.
"I think a lot of parents assume that it's the RAs that are working the desks anyway because on move-in day, it's the time that parents come in the building the most," she said. "And generally, during those times, the desks are staffed by the secretaries as well as the RAs to help check people out. I think parents assume that the RAs are always at the desk or always working the desk so I don't think that will affect it too much."
When parents do come in with problems or complaints, the RAs are not allowed to assess the situation; rather they have to go to the hall director for assistance, and it was the same thing with the secretaries at the desk.
Adams is hopeful that the absence of the secretaries will release enough backlash, and students will miss them and need them so much that they'll come back.
"I think they will miss them greatly," Adams said. "I know the RAs enjoyed having them around and I know I did as well. Maybe they will bring them back. Hopefully."