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Description of Student Academic Staff

I. One Rule: Respect

Since 1968, Student Housing at McGill University has operated under the principle that only one rule is needed: Respect. All residents, Academic Staff, and residence staff are expected to treat each other with respect, as well as to be treated with respect. This includes respect for oneself, for others, and for the building.

The success of the Respect principle relies heavily on the Student Academic Staff, consisting of the Dons, Floor Fellows, MORE Fellows, Assistant Directors and the Solin Hall Project Assistant. They report to and are responsible to the Director of their hall. Together with the Directors of the residence halls, they comprise the Academic Staff of McGill Student Housing.

Student Academic Staff have front-line responsibility for the well-being of the residents in their hall. They live where they work and in so doing, the role of an SAS can be described as both job and a lifestyle. SAS must be able to exercise good judgment in all kinds of circumstances, and know when they need to seek advice and help from each other, their Director and other professionals on campus regarding the appropriate action to take. They are expected to act in a professional manner, with maturity and thoughtfulness. They treat information that comes to them in their position as staff as confidential. They are prepared to respond and assist as trained, in the event of an emergency or crisis.

As students, SAS are encouraged to take full part in all aspects of University life. However, the interest of their residents needs to take priority over other involvements.

As students and employees, SAS are subject to both McGill University’s Code of Student Conduct as well as University regulations, including complaints of sexual and psychological harassment.

II. Core Responsibilities of SAS

1. Role Modelling

As role models for resident students, a high standard of behaviour is expected of Student Academic Staff. They:

  • are a positive role model especially in their academic life, interpersonal relationships, and online activities, particularly in the promotion of respect, courtesy and diversity.
  • are positive role models within residence for noise levels, cleanliness, attitude towards council; relations within and between SAS teams, and interactions with cafeteria, housekeeping and other Residences staff;
  • maintain full-time student status at McGill University and are in good academic standing;
  • follow University regulations.

2. Community Building

Student Academic Staff enrich the residence experience, facilitate the transition to university life for their residents and promote their personal growth. They:

  • establish and encourage an environment where diversity is not only respected but celebrated.
  • organize and facilitate well-balanced, inclusive social activities and cultural events for their residents;
  • conduct a floor/house meetings at the start of the year, and as needed throughout the year;
  • support events organized by other staff and the Council of their hall;
  • actively support and attend events sponsored by the hall council.

3. Peer Counselling / Resource Person

Student Academic Staff ensure that their residents have the support and information they need to facilitate personal and academic development. SAS:

  • maintain a professional boundary with all residents, acknowledging and respecting the trust placed in them by residents;
  • respond with compassion and support to any resident;
  • identify students facing personal, social or academic difficulties and refer them to the services and support available through McGill Student Services, the Dean of Students Office and other services offered on campus (e.g., SACOMSS, Nightline, Queer McGill);
  • recognize the limits of their expertise and refer students for professional help where necessary;
  • be familiar with the important deadlines of the academic year as well as general program requirements; and know to whom to refer students for academic issues and decisions;
  • inform the Director of their hall of any and all potentially serious problems.

III. Specific Responsibilities

4. Rez Project. SAS:

  • train and facilitate Rez Project, a residence wide workshop promoting inclusivity and diversity;
  • ensure their students attendance at the workshop and help students to continue to engage with issues discussed throughout the year.

5. Meetings. SAS:

  • attend all Hall Staff meetings;
  • attend and are actively involved in Academic Staff Orientation in August as well as in-service training during the academic year.
  • on the first day of Orientation, under the supervision of the Residences Admissions Administrator and with direction from the Director of the hall, SAS assign rooms to new and returning students.

6. Communication.

As the primary contact for the residents, Student Academic Staff:

  • Communicate in a professional manner with both residents and colleagues, role-modelling respect in so doing; including on line communication.
  • Communicate about what is happening in their halls with the Director and the other SAS of their hall;
  • Ensure that residents know when they will be available or how to get in touch with them;
  • Keep abreast of services and developments in Residences, McGill and Montreal that may be of particular interest and use to resident students, and communicate appropriate information to them.

7. General Availability and Duty

  • Student Academic Staff take turns being on duty, according to the schedule and conditions determined by the Director of their hall.
  • SAS on duty remain in the building, are accessible to all students, do rounds, and any other responsibilities as assigned by the Director of the hall;
  • SAS are available from the first day of SAS Orientation until the last day of examinations in winter term, excepting the winter reading break. Any multi-day absences during this period must be arranged in advance with the Director of the hall;
  • Student Academic Staff organize their personal lives in a way that does not detract from their performance as SAS. They should consider carefully and consult with the Director of their hall before taking on any commitment that could affect their availability, including taking on additional extra-curricular activities, jobs or leadership positions
  • SAS are available and helpful during move-in and move-out days for their hall, including staffing a welcome table.

8. Physical and Mental Well- Being

Student Academic Staff provide first level care. They:

  • support and promote McGill Residences’ philosophy of community well-being based on mutual respect;
  • refer residents to the student health service, to emergency services or local medical/mental health clinics as appropriate;
  • accompany or arrange for someone to accompany a sick or injured resident to a hospital;
  • in residences with meal plans, arrange meals from the dining hall for students too ill to go;
  • keep the Director of their hall informed of any significant mental or physical health issues of the residents of their floors/buildings.

9. Promotion of Respect for the Physical Environment

Student Academic Staff are responsible for encouraging good order on their floors and in their buildings. They:

  • are aware of the physical condition of their floors and buildings and report needed repairs and damages;
  • immediately report any acts of vandalism to the Director of their hall.
  • SAS may be provided with master keys or cards. In such cases,
  • These keys are for official use only;
  • Under Quebec law, SAS are permitted to enter a resident's room only with the express consent of that resident, or in a situation of clear and imminent danger.