ASUO office restructures, leaving four students jobless

Officials in the ASUO office will be replacing four student jobs with professional staff members to improve efficiency as part of a restructuring process. Because of this, there will be fewer students working in the student government office, which has upset some ASUO members.

During a staff meeting on May 18, ASUO Leadership Adviser Becky Girvan told, the students that they would no longer be employed. Two of the four ASUO office assistants who lost a job were Delaney Motter and Monica Nunan.

According to Girvan, the decision to restructure was to make the ASUO office more efficient by having Nicole Nelson, a professional staff member and Motter and Nunan’s boss, take over the office assistant roles. One of the key responsibilities that Nelson has is to give clearance for athletic tickets and other university events.

“Some of the university’s procedures that we are bound by include access to university functions that are only allowable to full-time professional staff,” Girvan said. “The goal was to make a more efficient use of the resources, and was certainly not to eliminate positions.”

ASUO Leadership Advisor Becky Girvan replaced student positions with professional staff in ASUO. “The goal was to make a more efficient use of the resources, and was certainly not to eliminate positions,” she said. (Photo from ASUO website)

With the late notice, Motter found that many of the options for applying to another campus job during summer and fall had already closed. Without her job at ASUO to pay her rent, she is facing was faced with the possibility of having to leave school and going back home to Portland.

“It’s supposed to be a student-focused office, for goodness’ sake,” said Motter. “It seems absolutely ridiculous to make student government deal almost exclusively with administration now.”

A few days before the positions were terminated, Motter and Nunan had asked Nelson why Girvan wanted to attend a meeting she had never been to before.. Nelson wasn’t clear with the women why Girvan would be present.

“Becky was at our meeting and basically just opened it up with that we would be laid off, effective July 1, Nunan said. “We were originally told our position was getting rewritten and reconfigured, possibly merged with other positions. That kind of all went out the window in the meeting.”

According to Nunan, the restructuring is not a funding issue. Before the beginning of the meeting, Girvan had asked Nunan and Motter to come up with ideas to spend end-of-the-year funds. They found out the office would also be getting a Nespresso espresso machine and new furniture.

Girvan informed them of a few positions that they could apply for, but they wouldn’t be given any special treatment for their applications.

“We were told of other positions, but it was emphasized that there was only one or two within each position,” said Motter. “Basically we were belittled and made to feel like what we were doing as office assistants wasn’t nearly as much as what these other jobs would be.”

As the new ASUO administration gets started, this decision could be a setback for them. Motter said she thinks the timing makes the new administration’s job harder, but that it was done during a time when student officials couldn’t do anything about the situation.

“To be laid off right as they’re changing over kind of feels like Becky is pulling one over on them too,” she said. “Amy [Schenk, ASUO President] is so overwhelmed right now trying to deal with everything, the last thing she needs is to try to fight for her student staff.”  

Follow Erin Carey on Twitter: @erinlcarey

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that two students lost jobs, not four students.

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Erin Carey

Erin Carey

Erin Carey is a Senior Reporter, majoring in Journalism and minoring in Comparative Literature. She loves coffee, hockey and telling visitors at the Oregon Zoo random facts about the animals.