Kuhlman hall director bids adieu

Residence Life searches for replacement after Bell’s sudden departure

By Avery Strychasz, guest writer
Newswire photo by Alex Budzynski
Residents of Kuhlman Hall (photographed above) were informed last week that former Hall Director Kirby Bell would be leaving her position at Xavier
to pursue another career opportunity. In an email, she wished the residents and staff well, but her departure has raised questions among residents.

Residents of Kuhlman Hall were informed last Thursday that former Hall Director Kirby Bell would be leaving her position the following day, rendering some residents bewildered.

Tasked with the important job of overseeing the well-being of residents and maintaining the hall, a hall director is a crucial part of the residential experience. For this reason, Bell’s departure has raised concerns for some Kuhlman residents. 

Residents were notified of her decision last Thursday morning in an email from Bell.

In her message, students were told that Bell would be leaving her position at Xavier the subsequent day for a new job opportunity. She provided links to support her residents through the upcoming housing selection process, along with her well wishes. 

Some Kuhlman residents noted that Bell had a lasting impact during her time as hall director and will be missed. 

Many residents, like first-year Kuhlman resident Olivia Castelli, were completely unaware that Bell was considering leaving. 

“At first I was shocked, but then I realized that she probably got a better offer for the long run,” Castelli said. 

Castelli’s biggest worry is that this situation may be “confusing” for RAs. She hopes that the RAs will be able to achieve the same support they would have had in crisis situations despite Bell’s departure. 

Ella Ongoro, another Kuhlman resident, was taken aback by the whole situation. 

“I used to see (Bell’s) emails and it was a reminder that someone was there for me,” Ongoro said. Ongoro felt that the whole situation was “out of the blue,” but she wishes Bell luck in her future endeavors. 

With the sudden change, several residents have raised concern about whether Residence Life will replace Bell for the remainder of the semester.

Lori Lambert, senior director for Student Affairs in the Office of Residence Life, assured that Residence Life is doing all they can to assist Kuhlman residents during the transition time. 

“(We have) systems in place and are here to support you,” she said.

Lambert emphasized that residents of Kuhlman Hall can continue to use the plethora of resources that Xavier offers. RAs will also continue to act as a support system in the largest first-year residence hall on campus.  

The five other hall directors on campus are working in conjunction with Lambert and Assistant Director of Residence Life Matt Zalman to handle situations left unattended in Bell’s absence. 

Lambert acknowledges that it would be preferable to have a full-time Hall Director, but emphasizes that the Office of Residence Life is working hard to “fill the gaps.”

While many residents felt that Bell’s exit was sudden, the pursuit to fill her position will not be rushed.

Residence Life is actively searching to fill the open position at Kuhlman, though Lambert stressed that “it depends on the candidates.” The Office of Residence Life hopes to find a match for Kuhlman soon, but they will take all the time necessary to ensure that a candidate is found who can confidently meet the specific  needs of Kuhlman Hall and its residents.

Hall directors are responsible for a myriad of different jobs in each residence hall on campus. These include managing all RAs in the hall, assisting with the RA hiring process, helping coordinate Physical Plant maintenance and serving as a resource for each resident.

Along with a salary, hall directors gain professional development opportunities, receive a stipend for campus restaurants, access to Xavier’s tuition remission program and live on campus with access to private amenities  and benefits. 

Lambert extended her well wishes to Bell and commended her on the job she has done. Residence Life staff noted that she has made a great impact, not only to her residents, but to the Xavier community as a whole.