Should RAs listen to Machiavelli?
In this argument I pose the question: should RAs take the advice of Machiavelli? When rulers need to decide whether to be loved or ruled, Machiavelli advises that “The answer is that one would like to be both the one and the other; but because it is difficult to combine them, it is far safer to be feared than loved if you cannot be both” (Machiavelli). Although an RA is technically not a ruler, an RA is the ruler of their respective hallway.
In my opinion, RAs should not listen to Machiavelli in this situation. It is important for RAs and students to have a strong relationship in which there is a sense of trust and friendship. While it is necessary for RAs to uphold the rules of the dorm, it is possible to do this in a manner without coming off as feared. If an RA is feared, students would not feel comfortable in their own homes and that can create a traumatizing situation for the students. I think if an RA is feared it would turn to the point of hatred, which Machiavelli warns rulers to avoid.
My advice to RAs is be caring, welcoming, and embracing in the hallways. Remember that you are the one in charge and it is your job to enforce the rules, so you are not at fault if you get a student in your hall in trouble. However, develop a friendship with the occupants in your hallway and be there as an advisor and a friend.
Machiavelli, Niccolò. The Prince. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago, 1998. Print.