ASWSU’s hiring process called into question

Application targeted toward those with senate knowledge; opening available on website


ASWSU Senator Hannah Martian says that President Quinton Berkompas’s targeting of the hiring announcements is a statement of privilege since it lends itself to senators’ social circles.

ASWSU senators criticized President Quinton Berkompas for not publicizing open positions before their confirmation on Jan. 15 during the ASWSU Senate meeting. Several members testified Monday that this broke a bylaw.

The ASWSU Judicial Board held a hearing Monday regarding executive position hires made by President Quinton Berkompas and the administrative staff. Berkompas maintained that applications for the positions in question had opened in November and were taken down due to a lack of applicants. They reopened in December and were public on CougSync and Engage before closing on Jan. 12. This met the bylaw requirement, he said.

Several members of the ASWSU Senate testified to the board that the executive staff broke a bylaw that required applications to be publicized for two weeks.

According to the bylaw, “All Executive positions shall be confirmed by the incoming Senators or current Senators for the current administration. All Executive positions must have open and publicized application periods of at least two (2) weeks.”

The positions in concern were Eric Martinez as director for communications and JaJuan Jackson as deputy director for student affairs. Both applicants were brought to the senate for confirmation during the senate meeting on Jan. 15.

ASWSU Senator Hannah Martian said Berkompas told the senate during the Jan. 15 meeting that the applications had not been publicized except for in ASWSU’s Communications Committee.

“All previous openings for vacant positions had been publicized across all ASWSU social media platforms,” Martian said. “There were absolutely no social media posts on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram notifying students that the student affairs and director of communications positions were open.”

She said the first time she learned of the openings was the day before the senate meeting, about 30 hours before the candidates were presented to the senate for confirmation.

“If the Senate Pro Tempore had no knowledge about either of these applications, how is the student body at large supposed to know about them and know to apply?” Martian said.

Berkompas said Samantha Cruz’s confirmation as director of legislative affairs was the notification to the senate that the director of student affairs position had been opened.

Cruz was the former director of student affairs before she became the director of legislative affairs on Nov. 14.

“They confirmed Samantha Cruz knowing that she was leaving that position,” Berkompas said. “We had 21 representatives of ASWSU very aware there was a vacancy when there was an application up on Engage.”

He said The Daily Evergreen’s reporting of the matter implied there was a student affairs vacancy and the application was on CougSync, which met the publication requirement of the bylaw.

“The point of Engage is that people go there to find information,” he said. “It’s as open as it comes.”

The application for deputy director of student affairs opened Nov. 14, Berkompas said. It was taken down Nov. 28 due to a lack of interest from applicants. The application reopened Dec. 20 before closing Jan. 10.

The application for the communications team opened Dec. 28 and closed on Jan. 12, he said.

Martian said the senate was aware of the vacancy but not aware the application was open for students to apply. She said a lack of interest for the student affairs position could have been a result from no social media posts regarding it.

Berkompas said he targeted the applications to groups of people he knew were qualified for the jobs, but the applications were on the ASWSU website.

“We wanted people with a little baseline knowledge of ASWSU, so we targeted our publications directly for people we felt like were most likely to fill that position,” he said.

He said this was because it would have been difficult for an entry-level applicant to enter the role in the middle of the academic year.

Berkompas also said this did not stop anyone else from applying and being hired if they were qualified. The recently hired deputy communications director had no previous affiliation to ASWSU, he said.

“The candidates that were presented to us are qualified and would do great in those positions,” Martian said. “But are there other students who […] would also have those same qualifications — absolutely.”

She said targeting applications is a statement of privilege and is insular because it shows who ASWSU members already know.

ASWSU Senator Connor Simmons said the main issue was the senate believed the applications were not published or publicized for the average student.

“Other students did not have the same and equal opportunity,” ASWSU Senator Diana Sotelo said.

The board closed the meeting for a private deliberation. Chief Justice Kevin Kissinger said the board will make a decision with the interpretation of the bylaw within five days.