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Fitchburg State University Did Not Have Documentation to Substantiate That Resident Assistant Staff Members Received Required Training on How to Respond to Emergencies.

In response to the audit, FSU reports that it has begun taking measures to enhance documentation in this area.

Table of Contents

Overview

During our audit period, Fitchburg State University (FSU) did not document that its resident assistant staff members received required training on how to respond to emergencies such as fires or campus violence. We reviewed resident assistant contracts maintained by the housing director that stated that emergency response training was required; however, there was no documentation indicating that resident assistants had attended the training. As a result, there is inadequate assurance that these staff members have been properly trained to assist the students living in their residence halls during emergencies.

Authoritative Guidance

FSU’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report provides safety guidance to the campus community. Regarding resident assistant emergency response training, the report states,

Each residence hall has . . . a staff of student Resident Assistants. . . . Resident Assistants receive comprehensive training before each academic year begins. This training includes how to respond to various emergencies (ranging in scope from psychological to health concerns), fire evacuations, sexual misconduct or violence, vandalism, . . . etc.

To meet the above requirement, FSU should ensure that all students employed as resident assistant staff members have received this training by documenting it in their files.

Section 3.03 of the Office of the Comptroller of the Commonwealth’s Internal Control Guide, dated June 2015, states,

Documentation . . . provides a means to retain organizational knowledge and mitigate the risk of having that knowledge limited to a few personnel, as well as a means to communicate that knowledge as needed to external parties, such as auditors.

Reasons for Lack of Documentation

FSU staff members stated that each resident assistant is supervised by a resident director. They noted that because resident directors provide the emergency response training, they know whether a student has attended the training and thus is qualified to be a resident assistant.

Recommendation

FSU should document that its resident assistants have received the required emergency response training.

Auditee’s Response

We have begun addressing the noted finding related to the documentation of resident assistant emergency response training and will soon have the necessary process in place.

Date published: June 28, 2019
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