ASLC president-elect responds to hiring criticism

I really appreciate the thoughtful criticism I’ve been receiving regarding my ASLC Cabinet selections and hiring process; it is dialogue like this that keeps me on my toes and thinking about the best ways to serve you all. However, no matter how hard we try, public displays (like letters/guest columns in the Review) always seem to come off likes attacks rather than constructive criticism. In my experience, criticism is more productive when conveyed one-on-one because it encourages both sides to see the opposing perspective.
That said, I’d like to put to rest the three myths circulating regarding my selections and hiring process.
Myth #1: I said experience was disregarded as a factor in hiring.
What I actually said was that experience wasn’t the only factor in my decisions. Given that we had more than three applicants per position (more than any leadership position on campus), there were a number of highly experienced candidates to choose from. The committee had to bring in other factors, such as enthusiasm and ideas for the position and ability to work as a team. Arielle Perkins’ and Nicole Bond’s profiles in last week’s Review (“Meet the ASLC Cabinet,” TLR, April 16) indicated how experienced they really are, and that is true of the entire Cabinet. In fact, my choice of Student Center Director, who has undergone the most scrutiny, has more experience with the Gameroom and CIC than the last four Student Center Directors, combined.
Myth #2: The hiring committee was exceptionally small.
This year’s committee was one senator short of the standard (two instead of three): that’s it. Despite this smaller committee, Senate confirmed the cabinet because it realized that I did everything I possibly could (including offering to change interview times or allow partial service) to get more senators, but there weren’t any more people willing to serve on the hiring committee. When I chose not to include outgoing president senior Ashlee Carter, it wasn’t because I was trying to ignore her input; I just didn’t want to subject her to 12 hours of interviews and discussions. I have extensive experience both in ASLC and in hiring student leaders — as was noted in the March Review editorial (“Review endorses Jones, Spranger,” TLR, March 5) — and I felt that experience qualified me to conduct interviews with a panel of four other people (the largest hiring committee of any student leadership position except Residence Life).
Myth #3: There was favoritism in the hiring process.
This really couldn’t be further from the truth. I can’t speak for sophomore ASLC Vice President-elect Katie Patterson, but I knew only two of the students hired through their work on the Linfield Activities Board and hadn’t had any previous interaction with the five other students selected. Quite honestly, it doesn’t matter if some of the new cabinet members have a history with Katie. Responsibility for personnel decisions — including hiring, discipline and (if necessary) termination — falls on the ASLC president. I didn’t present anyone to Senate that I didn’t have absolute faith in. The seven people that were hired by me and approved by Senate received the positions they’re in because they’re the best people for the job.
I hope this clarifies things for those that maybe didn’t know all of the factors involved in the ASLC hiring process. The final concern I’ve heard voiced regards inadequate communication between ASLC Senate and the larger student body. I have worked to be as transparent as possible in my cabinet selection and will continue to open myself to questions and criticism. But I recognize that information doesn’t always get to all students on campus. I am working right now to re-design the ASLC website to ensure that important information is readily available to the student body. So keep the criticism coming because it shows me the things I work on. But, please, share your concerns with me directly so I can spend my time addressing problems instead of writing long opinions.

Colin Jones, guest columnist

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