Daily Kent Stater

Former security aide gives her point of view on termination

Dear Editor:

First of all, as one of those former security aides who lost her job for participating in the “Security Gone Wild” party, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the Daily Kent Stater editorial board for its support in the “Topless or not, campus needs employees” article printed on Jan. 21. Secondly, I wanted to inform those readers who found that we were fired for off-duty behavior at an off-campus party as appalling as we did about how this situation has been handled.

First, it should be noted that this entire situation began Dec. 20, 2004, when those of us who were later terminated were suspended from all duties related to the security program. It was at this point that we were informed that written complaints had been filed against us concerning, among other things, possible inappropriate behavior at the Dec. 4 party. While we were on suspension, former Security Manager Kimberly Macon and Interim Security Manager Brian Hellwig were to conduct an investigation into the allegations made against us.

Promises of a “timely and thorough investigation” were made left and right by these two, as well as their superior, Robin Gagnow, associate director of Residence Services. Curiously enough, though, these people found time to take vacations and half-days during the regular work week — all while we were spending the holidays unemployed and unsure of our future employment status.

Also interestingly enough, we were denied several requests to read the letters in which the allegations were made for which we were being investigated and held accountable. We were first allowed to read four letters two to three weeks after we had been suspended. For three weeks we had to trust that what these letters said was true, that what they said was grounds for suspension and that these letters even existed. For three weeks we were unable to argue in our own defense — after all, how can people defend statements made against them if they are never informed of that which they are accused? Not only was it three weeks before we were allowed to read the complaints filed against us, but when we were invited to read the letters, we were not shown the most damning of them all. We were told that the allegations made in the four letters we were shown were found to be baseless and without merit, yet the allegations on which our termination was based was listed in a fifth letter to which we were not made privy to prior to our termination.

The four girls who participated in the “inappropriate behavior” were fired for such. But most shockingly, the two former security supervisors who hosted the party were fired simply for that — hosting the party. Both supervisors have appealed Mr. Gagnow’s decision to terminate them to Betsy Joseph, director of Residence Services. In a meeting with Ms. Joseph, she claimed that supervisors are supervisors at all times, whether on the clock or off. Does this not seem ludicrous to anyone else? As part-time, para-professional employees of the university, ungoverned by any fraternization laws and paid barely more than minimum wage, I find it difficult to make sense of such lofty expectations.

Despite these arguments — and several others I cannot get into due to space constraints — the termination still stands. Just last week, the two former supervisors were notified that their appeals had been denied.

Apparently, three to eight semesters of dedication to the Residential Security Aide Program goes by the wayside if you mess up just once. Evidently, even if you devote anywhere from 24 to 40 hours (or more) per week at security to help cover open shifts or run training sessions, your service will be overlooked when it is convenient for upper-management to do so. Without remorse, the university (or at least Residence Services) has taken away the livelihood of six of its students over one night’s indiscretions.

Erin Cecil

Junior accounting major