ASUCI Threatens to Sue Administration
As ASUCI elections came to an end last week with no formal winners announced as of yet, tensions arose between ASUCI and the administration regarding the appointment of a new ASUCI executive director.
After 23 years of serving as the executive director of ASUCI, Dennis Hampton announced his retirement to ASUCI and the administration in early March.
His formal notice of intent to retire was sent to the administration on April 1.
As Hampton prepared to leave UCI, ASUCI sought to appoint ASUCI’s Assistant Executive Director Lance MacLean to fulfill Hampton’s spot but carry the title of interim dean until he is formally named executive director by the administration, in particular, Vice Chancellor Manuel Gomez.
Article VII Section B of the ASUCI Constitution states: ‘The selection of the executive director shall be approved by a two-thirds vote of all voting members of the legislative council,’ which is made up of elected student officials.
On April 20, the legislative council voted to appoint MacLean based on his ‘knowledge, experience and familiarity of ASUCI and the students at large,’ according to a legislative council resolution.
According to ASUCI president Sammi Shaaya, the administration believes that students are biased towards hiring MacLean since they have known him for many years.
‘The administration is saying that although [MacLean] is qualified, he should not hold the spot of executive director due to the fact that there is a bias which they think will reduce another candidate’s opportunity to fulfill the position,’ Shaaya said.
Executive Vice President Christina Gagnier also defended the appointment of MacLean arguing that his assistance to Hampton for the last six to seven years has proven that he is a qualified candidate.
‘He’s been by [Hampton’s] side for half the time,’ Gagnier said. ‘He is an adviser to students and is the best candidate for the job.’
Shaaya is set to meet with the chancellor on May 3 to discuss the situation in detail.
Currently, there have been no hiring decisions made as to who will fill Hampton’s spot.
According to Daniel J. Dooros, interim executive director of student affairs auxiliary services, the recruitment process has not yet begun.
‘When [the process does begin], the administration will follow the University of California’s hiring policies and procedures as well as the ASUCI Constitution,’ Dooros said.
If Gomez does not approve of the appointment of MacLean to the position of executive director, Shaaya is prepared to enter into a lawsuit with the administration.
‘I hope we don’t have to sue,’ Shaaya said. ‘But if students can’t make these kinds of decisions and if the administration is saying that our process of selecting [MacLean] was wrong then I don’t know what else to do.’
Shaaya said that even if the chancellor decides to place another person in Hampton’s position, the legislative council will still have to approve the person they decide to hire.
‘If they hire whomever they want then he will be here unconstitutionally,’ Shaaya said. ‘If the office disallows our own candidate for the job then we’ll sue.’
Dooros believes that the issue will be resolved before any battle with ASUCI.
‘I do not believe litigation will be necessary,’ Dooros said.
On his last day at UCI, Hampton lamented on the current situation between ASUCI and the administration.
‘I am very disappointed that this is my last day and there is no director that has been able to transition into the position,’ Hampton said. ‘I feel my job has enough complexities that someone could not just walk in without some sort of knowledge and do the job.’
Hampton also brought up the circumstances under which he was hired 23 years ago as an example of how appointments to these positions should be made.
‘Students chose me. Students had the voting bloc,’ Hampton said.
Hampton also expressed his concern for the entire student body by stating that the administration should abide by their own standards.