The seat for the Student Fee Committeeâ€™s Director of Administration and Finance has long gone cold since former Director Jordan Marshall resigned Nov. 16.
Marshall cited accusations against President Stephen Land and the events leading up to the cease and desist order issued two weeks prior by Associated Students of Southern Oregon Universitylawyers as reasons for his resignation. The seat has remained vacant ever since.
The ASSOU constitution states that the president of the ASSOU will become the Director of Administration and Finance if the seat were to become vacant. Land began the application and hiring process for the position in early December.
Land presented candidate Jessica Thurner to senate for confirmation Tuesday. This is Thurner â€˜s first year at SOU. She is a junior transfer student from Lane Community College in Eugene. She is a business administration and accounting double major and serves as Marketing Director for the Business Club. She was employed by Northwest Community Credit Union for four years as a teller, where she managed $500,000, seven employees and five student-tellers. The junior has no experience with SFC and is not familiar with the process, which could prove to be problematic.
â€œI am just apprehensive about her lack of credibility and experience within the process,â€ Stevenson Union Senator Paul Jenkins, who also applied for the position, said. â€œIt usually takes at least a year of training.
Justice Katherine Gohring, who has previously served as director and has never met Thurner, said that any candidate must be well versed in the fee process and be able to train other people.
â€œAt the very least, the candidate should have sat on a fee committee or subcommittee in the past,â€ Gohring said. â€œIt took me two years to learn everything I needed to know to run the process.â€
Land disagrees with Jenkinsâ€™ concerns with Thurnerâ€™s lack of SFC specific experience.
â€œShe brings an outside perspective, she isnâ€™t involved in the drama,â€ Land said. â€œJessica is passionate, interested and brings the positive presence we need.â€
The President composed a handbook for SFC titled, â€œSFC for Dummies,â€ and says he would have conducted SFC training sessions regardless of the candidate.
â€œThe process is not the same as last year,â€ Land said. â€œLast year does not matter.â€
Senate tabled the decision for next Tuesdayâ€™s meeting on Jan. 11.
While the decision to appoint a director for SFC was halted, the timeline on the budget process is still moving forward.
â€œWeâ€™re losing time,â€ Land said. â€œWe are already seven weeks behind.â€
The due date for budget proposals for student organizations was pushed to Jan. 19 after a glitch in the system failed to send notifications to students about the approaching deadline over winter break. Senateâ€™s move to table pushed the deadline back yet again to Jan. 26.
Waiting to start budget hearings is problematic, Gohring said.
â€œIf they donâ€™t have enough time to give each program a fair hearing, it is possible we will end up unfairly cutting programs that deserve funding,â€ she said.
Budget proposals are due to the ASSOU Jan. 26. ASSOUâ€™s budget is due to SOU President Mary Cullinan April 2.
ASSOU senate meets at 6 p.m. in Senate Chambers every Tuesday.