Editor’s note: This story includes a transcript of The Puyallup Post reporter’s interview with Nicole Carroll and Brian McQuay after their resignation.
Their pictures were suddenly removed from the collection of student leaders’ photos hung in neat rows in the Administration Building.
The only items left to remind students that photos once filled those spots were the small nails left in the wall.
Nicole Carroll, Brian McQuay and Ryan Morgan once filled three of the now-empty positions in the Office of Student Life.
All three resigned during winter quarter.
Carroll was the program’s student success coordinator, McQuay was the legislative senator and Morgan was the entertainment coordinator.
Their resignations have required remaining student leaders to take on additional duties.
Carroll, as one of the program’s event coordinators, was required to plan, execute and attend events. A lack of her replacement directly affects the number of campus activities the program staff can provide.
Anika Bates: So, we’re hoping to answer (the questions), “Why did these people leave?” or “What positions are open?” Stuff like that. Whatever you guys are comfortable with sharing, (it’s) totally up to you.
Nicole Carroll: Well, obviously I’m a little older than students who work in the Office of Student Life, so I’ve had “real jobs” before, and this was not run black-and-white like a real job. They (the Office of Student Life permanent staff members) are asking kids to manage themselves, who have no experience in time management, in working in an office setting and in being appropriate in an office setting. Their solution to that was to team bond. Well, I had already extended my schedule pretty thin and now they’re asking me to take away from my wife and children, which was something I was not willing to do. That’s when I decided that I no longer wanted to work there.
AB: So it was scheduling conflicts for you?
NC: Not necessarily a scheduling conflict. We’re two quarters into this job. The team bonding was already done. We have team bonded until you can’t team bond anymore. I know more about those people than I do about my own children sometimes. Team bonding wouldn’t have solved anything. It would have been a quick fix and none of the other issues were being solved, like, people being at events. You know, people doing their share of the work. They wanted all the credit, but they didn’t want to do their share.
AB: So it was a long time coming that had built up?
NC: Yes, yes.
AB: This team bonding was the last straw?
NC: Pretty much, yeah.
NC: Yeah, I was told that I was going to have to take more time than I was already taking from my family, and my family comes first. Not this job, not even school. My family comes first. That’s where my standpoint was and that’s why it was an issue. And not seeing things getting fixed was a big issue. We had some issues, and they were talked about ‘til we were blue in the face. Everybody says, ‘Oh, I’m willing to change,’ and nothing changed.
AB: And like you said, you’re two quarters into this. Like you said, black-and-white is a big distinction. But gray isn’t.
Brian McQuay: I left mainly because I felt that I wasn’t accomplishing as much as I wanted to.
AB: From your own standpoint or from their standpoint?
BM: Yes, from my own standpoint. Same issues as Nicole mentioned with people not showing up to events—it had grown and grown and grown and stuff wasn’t getting done. But it came down to that I felt I was doing more good when I was working with the (Washington) State Board (for Community and Technical Colleges) and working down in Olympia and working on items that I did get because of the job, but I felt that (the State Board) was more important and taking more of my time. I felt that I wasn’t being as productive as I should be and I didn’t feel it was fair to myself, nor to the Office of Student Life, to stay any longer. I felt that I was just there, that I wasn’t being productive. I was still doing my stuff, but my heart and soul weren’t in it anymore. So, that along with the issues of people not showing up and people not following through, it just got to the point where it was no longer a feasible work environment.
AB: So you both said that people were not showing up to events. Was that big part of your job? Was everyone actually required to be at events?
NC: Yes. I was an event coordinator, so I was required to come up with three events per quarter. To not only plan, produce and make those events happen but besides those three, for every coordinator in there which I think is eight or nine, we each had to do three. So, you’re required to be at everybody’s events, no matter the time of day. The only thing that you were allowed to be away for was class, because you’re supposed to be a student first.
AB: Do you feel like the Office of Student Life was listening to the concerns you brought to them? Or did you voice these concerns to them?
NC: The concerns had been voiced and I felt that talking about it wasn’t enough. There wasn’t enough action behind the words that were coming out of people’s mouths. All the way from the top (employees) to the bottom. So before this incident, where I did quit, I had asked for help before. They would say, ‘Oh yeah, we’ve got you, we’ve got you,’ and then that was good for about four days. And then nothing.
AB: So no push when it comes to shove?
AB: Do you guys still get along with most of the people that are in there? Or was it mostly a work relationship?
NC: For me, it mostly was a work relationship. The only person I do talk to is Brian, out of the office. I do go in there for club reasons, to take care of that stuff.
AB: Are you both members of the Umbrella Club?
NC: We both are members, yes.
BM: It was work relationships, I mean, they are associates. And I still talk to them, I’m still in the office constantly because of things I’m doing with the State Board. I’m still in the office a lot, so I feel I am still on good terms with these people.
AB: Do you feel you both left on good terms?
NC: I know I didn’t. And that’s for myself to clean up, that has nothing to do with anybody else.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost
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