Grade-point average causes job termination

After organizing her third successful Cat Cab, which took place Sept. 23, sophomore Alyssa Hood was asked to attend a clandestine meeting Sept. 27.
Hood said she sat down with Director of Student Activities Dan Fergueson; senior Colin Jones, Associated Students of Linfield College president; and senior Nicole Bond, vice president of programming for the Linfield Activities Board.
Bond informed her that at the close of the meeting she would be released from her position as LAB musical entertainment chair, Hood said.
The reason, she said, was that her grade-point average was too low. It was three-hundredths of a point shy of the GPA required for ASLC employment.
“When we are hiring, we look at someone’s cumulative grade- point average,” Bond said. “It’s a standard. You have to have a 2.5 grade-point average.”
Fergueson, Bond said, verifies GPAs; she said she does not receive anyone’s specific GPA.
“He tells me if people are above or below — that’s all we care about,” Bond said. “We have to cut if off somewhere. When you apply for LAB, we check your grade-point average. If it’s below 2.5, you don’t get a position.”
Article III of the ASLC Bylaws states that at the time of election or appointment, candidates for any stipend-receiving position must have a cumulative grade-point average of 2.5.
“The grade-point average requirement was passed by the general student population when those bylaws were enacted,” Fergueson said.
On the surface, the ASLC hiring standards appear to be cut and dried with no existence of any gray area, yet Bond, in an April 15 e-mail to Hood, offered her the position knowing that her GPA was below the requirement.
“We have a minimum grade-point average requirement of 2.5. We were able to look at grades for everyone that we would like to hire and know that you had a rough time with a class last semester so you are just below it,” Bond wrote in the e-mail. “I am aware that you fall slightly below this level.”
Hood accepted the position. She completed the training and became the LAB Musical Events Chair for fall 2010 — despite Article III of the ASLC Bylaws.
She said she was fully aware that her employment was “at will,” as defined by the ASLC Employment Policy.
What remains unclear, she said, is what caused the three-week delay.
“They knew [my GPA] before they hired me,” Hood said. “They waited so long when they could have re-checked it during the summer, but they didn’t. They let me go on my merry way making plans and sending e-mails.”
Bond sent out a campus-wide e-mail detailing the employment vacancy in what Hood said was between hours and days following the Sept. 27 meeting.
“People were asking before I had a chance to tell anybody that I’d been fired,” Hood said.
Those who questioned her wondered if she was looking for a co-chair.
Hood said Bond didn’t tell the other LAB chairs, either, and that she had to explain to them that she had been fired.
“I’m performing the duties of the job until I hire someone new,” Bond said.
All pertinent e-mails, files and information were turned over to Bond in an organized manner, Hood said.
“I put them all on her computer, and I did a run-through with her about who needs to be e-mailed and when, what’s going on with this and that,” Hood said. “It isn’t as if I gave her a jumbled mess to deal with.”
Yet band managers and contacts still e-mail Hood.
She said they ask her about contracts and why they have yet to receive them or if the plans that have been set up have changed or not.
Hood said she answers the e-mails, addresses the employment change and forwards their inquiries to Bond with notes about important information such as due dates.
“Nicole is busy with her programming, and now she’s got my job,” Hood said. “How is she going to hire and train a new person? That places all the weight of everything on her. I don’t know why she would do this to herself. It seems a bit ridiculous to me.”
ASLC employees are instructed to follow the employee policy, Fergueson said. It spells out how disciplinary actions should be taken.
“That’s what happens in business: Someone gets fired and the other workers have to pick up the slack,” Fergueson said. “It’s a real-world application that students are learning.”
There is somewhat of an appeals process within ASLC — akin to the real world.
“A couple years ago, there was somebody who wanted to run for an ASLC position and they did not have the grade-point average,” Bond said. “They went to Senate for an exemption to the rule. That’s been done before.”
Hood said she was not made aware of her options.
“It just didn’t seem like there was going to be any way to try to fix it,” Hood said. “They were just done with me and that was it.”
Whether Bond will continue with the entertainment planning Hood has already completed remains to be seen, Hood said.
“I’ve already worked almost everything out to where all she needs to do is sign and send a contract back,” she said. “I gave her all the stuff that I had planned and ready to go, and it doesn’t even seem like she’s going with that.”
Bond has ignored Hood’s text messages and phone calls, Hood said.
“It seems like they don’t want any help from me in training a new person or helping hand over the position,” Hood said. “I am just completely pushed out of the picture. It’s not like I stole anything or
did something dishonorable where I shouldn’t be associated anymore. It’s as if I’m a leper or something. You don’t meet the standards, goodbye; see you — off to Leper Island with you.”
Still, Hood is willing to help, she said, but she is not sure who would want to jump into the middle of things and attempt to pick up where she left off.
“[The position] will be filled,” Bond said. “We’re not worried about that. We have interested applicants.”
No one has been hired to replace Hood as musical entertainment chair. The position opening is advertised campus-wide on LAB bulletin boards. Bond is accepting résumés and cover letters until 5 p.m. Oct. 11.
“If applicants are nervous about their grade-point average in applying, if they think that they might be in danger of getting below a 2.5, I would probably encourage them not to apply and to focus on their grades,” Bond said.
Hood said a smoother departure would have suited her better.
She said Bond determined that her studies required more of her attention even though the semester was only three weeks underway.
“That felt kind of rude just to assume that I am a poor student for that reason alone and that there couldn’t have possibly been anything else going on,” Hood said. “They did not ask me what my personal reasons were for doing so poorly in one class last year. Instead I’m portrayed as a no-good, terrible, rotten student.”
Hood’s question concerning why she maintained the position for three weeks into this semester remains unanswered, she said.
She also said she doesn’t know why Bond offered her the position if she knew that her GPA was below a 2.5.
“I could have been let go, and they could have found a new person before we got into this and before I invested so much time in doing the job,” Hood said.

Septembre Russell/Copy chief
Septembre Russell can be reached at linfieldreviewcopy@gmail.com.

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