When student body President Cesar Hernandez was inaugurated into office in April, his campaign adopted the slogan, “Be part of something great,” and encouraged students to get “involved in politics and voting.”
But recently, that slogan and those initiatives have come to represent a Student Government (SG) with hiring practices that raise internal concerns.
During Tuesday night’s Senate meeting, Nicole Kummer, a junior majoring in political science and elementary education, was to be confirmed for the role of Coordinator for Resident Life – a position for which she never applied.
Kummer had to go before the Senate for confirmation after the Judiciary and Ethics Committee did not confirm her July 14. She said the committee reached a tie and Adam Oldfield, the chair of the committee, decided to let the Senate decide her fate.
SG Senate President Jennifer Belmont said in an e-mail to The Oracle that a Human Resources (HR) representative said it was an “HR practice” that a candidate is “only interviewed for the positions for which they apply for.”
“An applicant may apply for as many positions as they would like during the period in which applications are being accepted,” Belmont said. “However, once the application deadline has been reached, applicants are committed to the positions for which they actually applied for.”
Ken Getty, SG chief of staff said he “believes” the application deadline was either June 4 or 11.
Kummer’s application was time stamped June 2 and approved July 6 for the positions of associate director for state affairs and deputy chief of staff, which she did not interview for.
Kummer said she was interviewed June 29 for the position of associate director for state affairs, but she was then told that the position was already filled. She said her application was then “passed on” to another department because her experience would “better fit that department.”
Getty said this is not the first time an applicant’s application has been “passed on” to another department. He said his Deputy Chief of Staff Miki Skinner, among others within SG, did not originally apply for their positions, but were still confirmed by the Senate.
“We’re trying to develop a team,” Getty said. “We’re trying to find an inclusive staff of gender, race and culture.”
However, the Senate failed to establish quorum before voting by roll call on Kummer’s confirmation, causing her to lose her appointment by one vote.
Khalid Hassouneh, chair of the committee on rules who voted against Kummer, said the process of applying for a position “is there for a reason.”
“You apply for a position; you get hired for a position,” he said. “If she wasn’t qualified for either of those departments, I question why she was qualified for a position like this one.”
He said that when he “approached” Joseph Anastasio, director of University and Community Affairs, Getty and Hernandez about Kummer’s application, he was told that they felt she would be “held back” if she was not allowed to face confirmation before the Senate for this position.
Lee Farrell, chair of the Committee on University Affairs, said he believed it was the Senate’s “power and right” to “bring about the change to fix” the hiring process of SG.
“Why wait for legislation to go through (to fix the problem) when we can be proactive and bring about the change that we seek now?” Farrell said.