Council members in a relationship do not violate ASCOCC policy

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Kelly Huskey and Shara Huskey, who are currently in a relationship, are both members of the Associated Students of Central Oregon Community College. As co-members of the council, they and the other four members share the responsibility of distributing student fees.
There is no rule against students who are in a relationship serving on the council together in the ASCOCC’s constitution, which is currently the only set of rules governing the council. The ASCOCC’s rules on family relationships are the same as Central Oregon Community College’s, which state that potential employees will not be discriminated against because of their relation to existing employees, but no employee can be in a supervisory position over their relative (including domestic partners). Because the ASCOCC positions are all equal, the relationship between Kelly Huskey, the director of student organizations, and Shara Huskey, the director of public relations, is not in violation of this rule.

“It’s really not unusual to have council members in a relationship,” said Taran Underdal, the advisor of ASCOCC. Though this is the first time since she has been the advisor that a couple has served on council together, Underdal said she does not believe it to be a rare occurrence on student governments as a whole.
Shara Huskey decided to apply for ASCOCC after seeing the work of the 2011-12 council, according to Kelly Huskey. She wanted to be a part of helping students.
“I’m glad she saw the work I was doing last year and wanted to join,” said Kelly Huskey. Though they work on the same council, Kelly Huskey and Shara Huskey try to avoid letting their roles mix too much.
Kelly Huskey and Shara Huskey intentionally structured their positions so there would be little overlap in their work, according to Underdal. She said she has not seen any bias in the council members so far this year.
The election and hiring process
There are three elected positions and three hired positions on ASCOCC. After the three elected members are chosen by the student body, they hire for the other three positions. In spring 2012, Kelly Huskey was elected onto the council and Shara Huskey was hired. There were six completed applications turned in for the hired positions, according to Underdal.
Each applicant was interviewed by a hiring board which included the elected council and two employees of the college. A vote was held to decide which three should be hired. Kelly Huskey was part of the interview process for all applicants, including Shara Huskey. After Shara Huskey was chosen as one of the top candidates, Kelly Huskey abstained from voting on whether or not to hire her, according to Kelly Huskey.
Before deciding to hire Shara Huskey, both she and Kelly Huskey were asked about their ability to work together professionally, according to Underdal.

Kelly Huskey, the director of student organizations at ASCOCC.
Photo| Ian Smythe

“We had discussions about it… so I would say precautions were taken from the interview process all the way until she was hired about how to be ethical,” said Underdal.
Conflicts of interest
If the ASCOCC council needed to vote on an issue that directly related to Kelly Huskey or Shara Huskey, the other would need to abstain from voting, according to Underdal.
“If a situation like that were to come up, the council and I would work together to make sure there was no undue bias,” said Underdal.
Each member of the council must abstain from voting on any issue related to a club or program they are currently in. Kelly Huskey is member of the Criminal Justice club, so she does not vote on any of the decisions made by ASCOCC regarding that club. Underdal and Kelly Huskey said they weren’t sure if Shara would abstain from issues related to the Criminal Justice club as well, because such a situation hasn’t yet come up. Because, as of now, there are no policies governing ASCOCC, issues are discussed and decided upon as they come up, according to Underdal.
“I think it might depend on the issue,” said Underdal. “if Kelly were in charge of something [proposed by the Criminal Justice club] that would be a concern.”
In order to have a quorum to make decisions, the ASCOCC must have at least four members who are able to vote. If both Kelly Huskey and Shara Huskey had to abstain from voting on an issue, the council would still have a proper quorum, as long as all other council members were present, and no other member had to abstain from the vote.
Once they leave the college for the day, the couple avoids talking about anything related to the student government, according to Kelly Huskey. She said that so far she has not encountered any ethical issues with Shara Huskey on the council. There have been other challenges such as finding childcare for their children when both Kelly Huskey and Shara Huskey are busy with the ASCOCC, but Kelly Huskey said she does not anticipate there being any serious issues in the future.
“Of course there’s going to be challenges,” said Kelly Huskey. “But it works.”
(Contact: cgoslin@cocc.edu)

https://www.midoregon.com/accounts/student.shtml

Cedar Goslin |The Broadside

 

9 COMMENTS

  1. How could this not be a conflict of interest? Just because ASCOCC and the advisor doesn’t have a policy, doesn’t make it right. The college policy doesn’t apply and it would not allow for individuals in a relationship to be working in the same office, voting on the same issues, just like any other workplace. Would the COCC Board allow two people in a relationship to serve on the board and vote on college issues? Perhaps the Broadside should have asked more questions. Underdal says, “its not unusual.” Ok, then give us an example of a student government with two people living together, “married” serving in the same role on a student government. It is VERY unusual because it is NOT ethical. Obviously this story was written because someone made it an issue and it raises concern with students – and it should. The story is a little biased to. There is only the opinion of Huskey and Underdal. Perhaps Goslin could have asked another SG advisor that was removed from the issue, or 3-4 of them to see how common it really is.

    Each council member should have an independent vote without muddying the waters of a “relationship” on the side. Of course they would favor and support each other and if there was something one of them wanted to vote “YES” on, most likely one could easily persuade the other. 2 out of 6 members of the ASCOCC council is almost 1/2 of the council representation. Allowing for a power couple to influence others should not have been allowed to happen. Huskey should not have been a part of the interview process or the hiring committee at the bare minimum. Students should demand that one of them resigns.

    When they leave the college for the day they “avoid talking about anything related to student government.” What? Are there any students out there that really believe that to be true? No pillow talk between these two? No, “how was your day?” Nothing.

    If there is anything a student or a club needs at COCC you better hope you have the Huskey’s on your side when it comes to voting on how your student fees are spent! Between the two of them they could persuade some of the other council members to vote for or against what you want.

    “It works.” I’ll bet it does. They both get what they want. Kelly got her wife a job on student government collecting a paycheck on your student fees. They get to spend the day together and decide how your fees are spent. If Shara Huskey wanted to join so bad, she could have been a volunteer. They both should not be council members at this point. Clearly their sense of judgement is questionable at best.

    Time to clean up your act student government and not let these two damage all of your reputations.

    Good job Broadside for at least bringing the issue to light even though there is only a one-sided opinion voiced here.

    • Hello and thank you for your feedback!

      We would like to print your comment in the newspaper as a letter to the editor. Do we have your permission to do that?

      Also, I attempted to e-mail you regarding the concerns you had about the article, but I seem to be unable to contact you via e-mail. To summarize my response, I agree that this article needs more voices. As you guessed, this article was published to addressed student concern, and in order to address it as promptly as possible we weren’t able to get all the sources we would have liked. However, a follow up article is in the works, which I hope will address all of the concerns that the initial article did not satisfy.

      If you are interested in being a student voice regarding the issue, please feel free to contact me using the information below. You can also visit the newsroom in Campus Center room 102.

      Cedar Goslin
      The Broadside
      Editor-in-Chief
      cgoslin@cocc.edu
      Office phone: 541-383-7252
      Cell: 541-550-9045

    • Attention Sean M:
      Your comment was biased and not written with mature reasoning. Using full names in a media published article is considered slanderous along with defamation of character. Everyone has a right to exercise their freedom of speech. However, defaming people’s character could potentially lead to a court appearance.

  2. I don’t even see why this should be an Issue.. I don’t think that a relationship is going to hurt them doing what is right for their school…

  3. If you knew Kelly and Shara or are even acquaintances with them you know that they are two very independent women that make their own decisions by themselves. This is concerning their employement and they understand that. I believe that there is no conflict with them in the same office and working at ASCOCC, there has been no bias and if there was trust me the other 4 in that room would already have done something about it. Do you really think with their busy life’s they would have time to talk about what happens in that room? I firmly believe they really don’t have time to talk about that stuff, they have 2 children and volunteer for the son’s baseball and basketball teams and a lot of other stuff! you really think that someone would have not had put them in their place already? I think maybe you should spend some time in the office before you make accusations about things you really know nothing about…

    • I am not saying anything bad about Kelly or Shara…. Kelly has helped me out a lot and I think that she is a wonderful caring person. I have never had the pleasure of meeting Shara, but I am sure that she is just as wonderful and helpful as Kelly and to have people like them on our Side as The Students of COCC is an awesome thing..

  4. This is so wrong. Nobody said they weren’t “wonderful caring” people – I’m sure they are great, but that isn’t my concern. Nor is their personal lives, kids, volunteer work, etc. Hello people, they are in a relationship and voting on how to spend our fee money. If one of them likes one thing, chances are the other one will too. The probability exists for thought (and voting) that is not independent of eachother, the doubt exists, and the opportunity for corruption is there. Doubt already lies with students. Lets get these two out of office before they mess it up for the rest of the group. My friend on student gov. thinks the whole thing was set up because one of them is close with the advisor, and now they can’t do anything about it even though at least 2 of them have said they think is just isn’t right. Anybody in a club, program or that wants anything from Student gov. that can get the twinnies on board is 1/2 way to getting what they want!

  5. I seem to remember an election where at least one of these wonderful Ladies was voted into her position.
    I doubt that either one of them are really on the ASCOCC just because they are close to an advisor. I think they are on the ASCOCC because they want to be and they truly care about their school and what happens within it.
    Just because they are in a relationship doesn’t mean that they have to agree on everything or like/dislike all the same things.
    They are each their own person and have their own minds to think differently if they so choose to….

    Some people just make a huge issues out of nothing

  6. Some people that make a huge issue out of what some think is “nothing” are sometimes right in the long run. Check out today’s issue of the Broadside for another article about the corrupt on goings of ASCOCC council member Kelly Husky and make a more informative decision.

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