FAQs for Parents
Frequently Asked Questions for Parents and Family Members
What is an RA?
Resident Advisors (RA) are one of the best resources available to your student. Resident Advisors are a great starting point for your student to approach with concerns or issues. RAs are BGSU students who live in your student’s residence hall community and are at least in his/her 2nd year of living in the residence halls at BGSU. These students are knowledgeable when it comes to campus resources, mediating conflicts, helping students to make connections with one another, and encouraging campus involvement among students. RAs also help to promote safety and security in the residence halls to make sure that students living in the halls can succeed at BGSU. RAs are full-time students and many of BGSU’s RAs are involved in numerous clubs and organizations across campus as well.
What is a Hall Director or Graduate Hall Director?
Hall Directors are a great starting point and resource for parents to approach with an issue or concern. Hall directors are Masters-degree attained, full-time employees at Bowling Green State University that oversee the general operations of the residence hall communities. Hall Directors supervise the RA staff and Graduate Hall Directors.
Graduate Hall Directors are bachelor’s degree attained, part-time employees that work with the Hall Director to oversee the general operations of the residence hall communities. Graduate Hall Directors are also enrolled as full-time graduate students in BGSU’s College Student Personnel program.
Both Hall Directors and Graduate Hall Directors live and work in the residence hall to help handle issues that happen after normal business hours in addition to their office hours. As trained crisis responders, Hall Directors and Graduate Hall Directors help RAs handle larger situations to help keep students and the campus community safe and secure.
My student is having issues with his/her roommate. What can I do?
The best thing that a parent or family member can do for their student is to encourage them to talk to their roommate about the issue. Often times, the root issue between roommates is that there is not open communication between the roommates to discuss frustrations or concerns. Roommate issues are great opportunities for your student to grow into a mature adult by opening the line of communication with their roommate. Remind your student that face-to-face conversations are best when communicating frustrations and that using text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail are not the most effective ways to communicate. These forms of communication during roommate issues usually make the situation worse.
If your student needs further assistance after trying to talk to their roommate, encourage your student to talk to his/her RA. RAs will work to mediate the situation with your student and his/her roommate.
The RA will know both the student and their roommate and be able to be a neutral resource to both to facilitate a formal conversation and enter into a roommate agreement about acceptable behavior.
Please keep in mind that the Office of Residence Life does not move students due to differences of race, ethnicity, religion and beliefs, sexual orientation, physical ability, or any other social identity. If your student is voicing concerns due to how his/her roommate identifies, the best thing to do is to encourage your student to talk to their roommate and develop a further understanding of the roommate. We tell students that college is a great time to learn how to interact with people that are different from themselves. It is helpful to remind your student that one of the best ways to learn this very important life skill is to live with someone who is different from than himself/herself.
My student has taken all of the necessary steps (roommate agreement, met with his/her RA, and had a roommate mediation), but he/she still wishes to move. What does he/she do now?
After making every effort to reconcile the issues between roommates, if a student still is not happy living with his/her roommate, the student may choose to move to a vacant spot. The Office of Residence Life does not force a roommate to move out of a living space, even if one of the roommates believes that the other has more of a responsibility for their problems. If a roommate does not wish to live with his/her current roommate, it is the responsibility of the roommate with the concern to move.
There is a two-week freeze on moving room assignments at the beginning and end of each semester, so we can identify the vacancies in each building. As a result, students must stay in their current room assignment for at least two weeks, but after the first two weeks and the student would still like to move, the student should to the front desk of the building. At the front desk, there will an accurate report of the vacant spaces in the building that the student could possibly move into. Once selecting a vacant space from the list at the desk, the student can go online to his or her MyBGSU account to fill out a room change request form. The room change request form is located on the left side of the page under “My Room and Meals.” This form is only available Monday through Friday from 8:00AM to 5:00PM. The student must fill out the form and wait to receive a confirmation email stating that his/her request was approved or denied. If the request was approved, the student will be able to check into his/her new space at the building’s front desk on the date indicated in the email. They must start the process of moving by going to the front desk to get the key and other important information about the room.
Students will have until midnight of the night they check into their new space to move out of their former space, so they will not be taking up two rooms for more than 24 hours. Doing so could result in a charge for two rooms. In order to check out of the former space, the student must have all of their belongings out of the room and must find their RA or another member of the hall staff to conduct the room check. The check out is completed when the student and RA go to the building’s front desk to turn in the student’s key and paperwork.
I haven’t heard from my student, and I am concerned. What should I do?
First and foremost, try to remain calm and not jump to conclusions. While today’s generation of college students communicate more frequently with others than generations before, that’s not to say that there will not be times when your student isn’t able to answer the phone, text, or e-mail you back. Often times, students are busy with school work, clubs and organizations, jobs, or spending time with friends when family members call them.
It is important to set clear expectations about how often you and your student will communicate while they are at college. Sometimes students do not answer the phone when they feel that their families call too much. If you set clear expectations about how often you and your student will communicate, it will be easier to discern between a real emergency and a time when your student just does not feel like talking.
If your student does not answer when you attempt to contact him or her within the expectations that the two of you set, it may be helpful to send them a text message indicating that you are concerned. This may prompt them to give a quick reply, if he/she is busy and then can let you know a better time to talk.
If this method does not prompt a reply from your student and you feel enough time has passed to warrant concern, we recommend calling your student’s Hall Director to see if the student can be located and then asked to call you back. If the Hall Director is unable to locate your student, the last option is to call the University Police Department.
There’s a maintenance issue with my student’s room. What can I do to help them fix it?
It is difficult when something happens in your student’s room, and you’re not there to help them fix it as you might at your home, however, this is a great opportunity for your student to learn how to live as an independent adult by utilizing his/her resources to fix the issue. In the residence halls, students are able to submit a work order online through the University’s website (see instructions below). It is important that your student be the one to fill out the form, so that both your student and his/her roommate will be aware that someone may be entering into their room to fix the issue.
- Go to: https://cmms2.bgsu.edu:444/home.html. Your student will need to have his/her BGSU username and password to access the system.
- Click on the "Submit a Request" link in the navigational menu on the left.
- Select the building where repairs are needed.
- Select the room number if you know it. If you do not know the room number, simply describe the location in the same field where you describe the problem.
- Describe the problem or need in the textbox "Request".
- Please make separate requests for distinct tasks since different jobs may be assigned to different workers.
- Click "Submit".
- Close Browser Window to log out.
My student was documented in the residence hall for a policy violation. What is going to happen?
Your student may have called you worried that they will “get kicked out of school” and unsure of what will happen next. This reaction is very common. Assure your student that they most likely will not be removed from BGSU and talk with them more about what happened. Often times, simply talking to someone about the situation helps students to calm down a little bit.
If a potential policy violation occurs, a member of hall staff documents the situation and all students involved in the situation meet with the Hall Director. Let your student know that they will receive an e-mail in his/her BGSU e-mail account from his/her Hall Director informing your student of a meeting that the Hall Director scheduled using your student’s class schedule. In this meeting, the Hall Director will get to know more about your student and try to build a relationship with the student in order to make them feel more comfortable and have an open dialogue with the Hall Director. The Hall Director will also let your student read the incident report about the situation where your student was documented. Students will be asked to recount their side of the story, so that the Hall Director can hear multiple perspectives in a situation.
Meeting with the Hall Director does not necessarily mean that your student is responsible for the policy violation. Some students meet with the Hall Director when they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. In many of those situations, the meeting serves as a great opportunity for the student to have one on one time with the Hall Director to talk about his/her adjustment to college and good decision-making.
For students who were responsible for violating a residence hall or University policy, the Hall Director will ask the student questions to see if the student understands the issue in violating the policy and the reason the policy is in place. After having an educational conversation with the student, the Hall Director may charge the student with violating the policy, if the Hall Director determines a student’s responsibility. For residence hall policies, the Hall Director will determine the sanctions and hear the case with the student in the meeting. For larger issues that are outlined in the Student Code of Conduct, the student will be referred to the Office of the Dean of Students for the case to be heard.
The conduct process at Bowling Green State University is meant to be a way for students to learn responsibility through their experiences in college. The process is not punitive in nature, but educational.
What is FERPA and what does it mean for me when it comes to my student?
FERPA stands for the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. FERPA is a federal law that protects the educational records of students. The law explains that it applies to students when they reach the age of 18 or whenever they attend a school beyond the high school level. Educational records can include grades and academic information, contact information, and judicial information. For more information on FERPA, please visit http://www.bgsu.edu/offices/sa/ferpa/page51370.html.
For your student’s safety, the Office of Residence Life does not give out student contact information to anyone. This can be frustrating for some families, but we ask that you understand that it is for the safety and security of all of our students. Very basic contact information that is not protected by FERPA can be obtained through the BGSU website.
It is also important to note that judicial information is protected by FERPA, too. For example, if you call your student’s Hall Director because you know that your student was documented for a possible policy violation, the Hall Director cannot give you details about the situation or the conversations had in the meeting. The Hall Director can give you information about the conduct process in general and can explain the BGSU behavior policies, however, specifics of the situation cannot be discussed without a signed waiver from the student.
I would like to visit my student in his/her residence hall. What should I do?
When coming to campus to visit your student, we ask that you contact your student prior to visiting so he/she can meet you in the lobby of the residence hall. Family members, like all other guests, need to be escorted while in the hall for the safety of all of our students. As a result, hall staff will not allow guests to walk through the residence hall by themselves to knock on a student’s door. Hall staff may call the student or go to the student’s room to let the student know that he/she has a visitor waiting in the lobby. When planning a trip to visit your student, it is best to communicate when you will arrive, so he/she can meet you.