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Accused RHA officers may not be under the rule of Res Life

By Hillary Davis
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
January 27, 2000
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Accusations of corruption leveled against the executive board of the UA Residence Hall Association - if proven true - would not likely fall under the authority of the department of Residence Life, said director James Van Arsdel.

"The RHA is a student organization, so it is not directly related to this department," Van Arsdel said yesterday. "So in that respect, I would have to say I'd leave internal affairs to the membership."

Van Arsdel admitted he does not yet have a clear understanding of the charges.

"I don't know precisely what the issues are," said Van Arsdel, who also said he would be hesitant to speculate. "I have not received any of those details. I know as much as I have literally read about in the paper.

"When somebody's ready to be specific, I am more than happy to listen," Van Arsdel added.

Charges against the executive board include an unapproved purchase of an office couch for $1,200 and overbudgeting for food items at organization activities. Possible tampering with other members' e-mail accounts, underage drinking in the dorms and sex in the RHA office were also alleged by a committee of other members.

The funds that comprise RHA's treasury are loosely tied to Residence Life - the department doles it out to RHA after gathering it from resident housing fees.

"In the instance of misappropriation of funds, there is some possible relationship," said Van Arsdel.

Still, Van Arsdel said should he learn the full details of the accusations he could not comment on any disciplinary actions, citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.

At the Jan. 20 meeting, the committee passed out proposals calling for the re-election of a new executive board by Feb. 10. Only one executive board member, national communications coordinator Cory Shapiro, is exempt from the corruption charges.

Although accusations were not made to specific individuals, the members of the executive board include Rebecca Zilm, Audra Shattuck and Kathleen Rapp.

The issue was tabled and should be re-addressed at tonight's meeting.

"When individuals are in an environment which is corrupt, all morals and ethics become somewhat blurred," said Laura Winsky, RHA vice president of campus affairs. Winsky is one of the students filing the complaints against the executive board.

"I realized I cannot work for an organization that is corrupt ... this organization has potential ... right now, and for the past 10 months, it has not been serving that potential," stated Winsky, in the minutes from last week's meeting.

Today's general body RHA meeting begins at 5 p.m. in the Kiva auditorium of the Education building.

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