ASWC uses new appointment process

Procedure to fill vacant governing board seats goes into effect.

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ASWC uses new appointment process

Jackie Greisen

Jackie Greisen

Jackie Greisen

Andy Monserud, Staff Reporter

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ASWC’s Nominations Committee recently began using a new procedure to install students in temporary positions on governing boards. These temporary appointments replace more long-term student representatives for a single semester, while they are abroad or otherwise off campus.

The first temporary representatives were appointed last spring to the Diversity, Student Life and Academic Governing Boards, as well as the Library Committee. Governing Boards are comprised of student, staff and faculty representatives and present to the trustees during their visits to campus. As such, they meet only a few times a year, meaning that until the creation of temporary posts, student representatives who studied off-campus left empty spots in what could be a majority of those meetings for the year.

“Because we’re appointing people before or around their junior year, then often people go abroad. And historically, what’s happened with that is that while they’re abroad, there’s simply less student representation on that committee,” senior and ASWC president Arthur Shemitz said. “That can make it difficult to ensure consistent student representation.”

That didn’t sit well with the Nominations committee, according to junior senator and Ombudsman AnnaMarie McCorvie. McCorvie chaired the committee last year and said that the appointment of temporary representatives was chosen as an alternative to only hiring students with no plans to leave campus.

“We talked a lot about whether we should not hire people who we know are going to go abroad for governing board positions,” McCorvie said, adding that denying positions to students who wanted to study off-campus was “something that we decided was unfair.”

So the committee instead nominated representatives as normal, and when senior Dennis Young became Nominations Chair, he was tasked with creating a new system. Under that system, the nominee recommends a replacement and the recommended person then goes through the nomination process as normal.

Junior Jake Barokas went through that process last spring, when his friend Steven Aslin recommended him as a temporary student representative on the Student Life governing board. Barokas had considered applying for the position himself, he said, but decided against it because he was also working as a Resident Assistant.

“Steven ended up applying and getting it, and so I got to talk to him about what that was like last semester,” Barokas said. Aslin, knowing Barokas’ interest, recommended him for the temporary slot, and Barokas was confirmed as a replacement at a Senate meeting shortly afterward.

The recommendation system, McCorvie said, is special to governing boards because of the high-stakes nature of those boards. The library committee, she noted, is an exception because it features only one student representative, and to leave a college committee entirely without student representation for a semester, she said, would be “irresponsible.”

The process itself, McCorvie said, is in a sort of a test phase.

“We take governing board appointments very seriously. We work really hard to make sure we’re appointing the best people,” McCorvie said. “We’re not trying to do anything behind closed doors, or just having people recommend their friends, but it is different than the way we usually hire … It’s new, and we’ve never tried it before, and we’re seeing how it works.”