Student government vice president-elect Molly Woon formally resigned from her position in ASPSU this week, saying it conflicted with her newly acquired graduate assistantship.
Woon said she discovered only recently that her job as a research assistant in the Political Science department would conflict with her position in the Associated Students of Portland State University. She told student body President Erin Devaney that she had to quit in early June and submitted a formal letter of resignation on June 20.
Because a human resources policy, Woon had to choose between her assistantship and taking office as vice president June 1. Graduate assistantships and other student jobs are assigned a number, called an FTE, or Full Time Equivalent, which indicates the responsibility level of the job and how many hours per term the student is expected to work. A .49 FTE is just below half time, or 254 hours worked per term. Students with assistantships that carry an FTE of .49 or higher are not permitted to hold another student job on campus, according to Karen Kraus, employment coordinator for the office of human resources.
“When you exceed that .49 mark… [students] can become overstressed with work versus their assistantship and a full load of classes,” Kraus said.
“It was definitely a shock,” Devaney said, “but in the end we both agreed it was the best decision. Everyone seems to be taking it well. There’s not a lot of hard feelings.”
Devaney must now appoint a new vice president to be confirmed by the student senate in a basic majority vote. There is currently no timeline for this procedure, but Devaney said she is more concerned about finding someone who has similar vision and goals as Woon.
“Waiting and finding the best person for the job is the most important thing,” she said.
Woon said that while running for vice president she was unaware that there would be a conflict. The Devaney/Woon slate swept the elections last March, winning 14 senate seats in an election with a record-high voter turnout. Devaney and Woon won by 299 votes, receiving 1,327 votes to Amanda Barron and Lindsay Craven’s 1,028, with 77 students not choosing a presidential candidate.
Woon said that while winning the student government elections was “the proudest I’ve ever been,” she wants to concentrate on her academic pursuits. As an undergraduate student, she said, “I went to classes sometimes, but I wasn’t invested.”
Woon said the graduate assistantship would provide a much needed tuition waiver and the experience to attain her ultimate goal, which is to work on political campaigns.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had to make a decision this hard,” Woon said.
She worried that her decision might be construed as selfish, but “there comes a point when we have to make decisions for ourselves. Ultimately I had to make a decision that was right for me.”
Woon said she is sad to leave her position, but is proud of what she did accomplish. “I don’t regret running. I don’t regret the time I spent in ASPSU. I don’t feel like because I resigned I am not a leader. I’m not letting go, I’m not checking out of this community. I’m still here.”