Hurricane Administrative Spotlight Q&A with Keith “Fletch” Fletcher, Hecht RC

Q: What exactly does the position of Resident Coordinator [RC] entail?
A: The primary job of an RC is to administrate the building, handling everything from loan key inventories, to room switches, to keeping an eye on the facilities in the building. I supervise 22 resident assistants [RA], administrative assistants and desk assistants. I also supervise mail operation and serve as judicial hearing officer. All RCs essentially function as satellite offices for the dean . . . noise violations, drugs, alcohol, missing persons, fights, fires, etc.
Q: Why did you decide to become Resident Coordinator for HECHT? How long have you held this position?
A: I have held the position less than a year. This is my first year at Miami. UM is a very special place, a diverse place with a lot of really good people who are committed to helping students, but more importantly, they have a vision of how they want their campus to be and what they want to give their students and I wanted to be a part of it. Hecht is a largely freshmen building and I love to work with the freshmen and the staff here – I’m blessed with an incredible staff of student leaders who are here for the right reasons and are willing to put in a lot of those intangible things that you can’t get back – a lot of hours making bulletin boards and doing things for people.
Q: What is the best part of your job? The worst?
A: Best: supervising the staff and any opportunity I have to interact with the students. Part of our job is the expectation that our apartments will be open for students to have places to program, to congregate, to meet. My apartment was used a lot and it’s great. Also, the opportunity to help people start to figure out what they’re capable of and then give people the tools to recognize their own unique potential.
Worst: I don’t really have a most hated part of my job, but anytime I don’t have the opportunity to interact with the students – like the paperwork, although many would think it would be the judicial part of the job. I don’t really feel that way because I think every time we have the chance to talk to a student who’s been caught for an offense, we’re not going to judge them and it’s really an opportunity for them to start learning what it is to be a part of a community and begin making better choices in the future.
Q: What is the craziest thing you’ve ever heard as RC?
A: Students that smoke marijuana in their room and then get caught because they go to smoke a cigarette because they didn’t want the marijuana smell in their room. We’ve had some people that have urinated or defecated in their room. Some roommate conflicts are crazy – some that can’t have a speck of light in their room and they duct taped the door shut at night so that no light can get in.
Q: What is the most difficult situation you’ve encountered?
A: I think when you do the job that I do or that the people that live in the buildings do, it’s difficult to pick one situation that stands out, but I would say ones where students have truly, truly been hurt or are so desperate that they’ve run out of places to turn. For example, suicide ideation or sexual assaults, severe eating disorders, mental health cases are the most difficult things to deal with because a lot of times, to the people helping these folks, the answer is so clear, but the only person who can ultimately change the situation is the person who has the problem.
Q: What’s the dumbest question you’ve ever been asked by an incoming freshman?
A: People will come to our front desk and ask what the number for 8-CARE is. We’ve had students that got caught drinking alcohol in their rooms say “Can I finish this first?” We had some folks throwing stuff out of a window and asking, “What does it matter if it didn’t hit anybody?” “Where can I get a good ID?” comes up a lot.
Q: What do you think is the greatest misconception new students and freshmen have when coming to UM?
A: One of the biggest ones from my perspective is that they have to fit in to this Miami image – whatever they define that image to be, because it is a pretty place with pretty people. I think that leads to a lot of the issues with drugs and alcohol, and with sexual assault and with eating disorders, because they’re putting themselves out there in a different environment and they’re trying to be something they’re not. I think that one of the misconceptions is that everyone that goes here is very well-off financially. And I think that one of the biggest sources of conflict we find in the residence halls are the issues of socio-economics. It’s a source of tension and it comes back to that Miami image thing.
Q: What was the most dangerous/frightening situation you’ve ever had to handle?
A: For the purposes of protecting students at UM, I won’t disclose those situations, but in other places where I worked. . . there actually was someone standing in the window sill of their fifth floor window of their room urinating out the window and then he decided that he was going to jump; being the primary responding person to that situation was scary. I’ve had to deal with arsonists before, students that have weapons or students that have all the components in their room to produce explosive material.