SG discusses possible changes to appointment process

Eleanor Dearman

Members of Student Government met Wednesday to discuss the handling of interview notes for external and internal appointments. 

The meeting was called by the Rules and Regulations Committee to discuss specific ways of altering the appointment process for internal and external positions to increase the involvement of SG assembly members, while still following rules under the Office of the Dean of Students.

The discussion follows an August decision from the Office of Legal Affairs not to release interview notes for internal and external positions under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act — a federal law protecting certain student information. The SG Judicial Court previously ruled in May that the notes should be released.

At the meeting, Sergio Cavazos, College of Liberal Arts representative, said SG should meet with UT legal representatives to better understand FERPA.

“I think that getting anything from legal specifying what information is protected or isn’t protected is something that we need to do,” Cavazos said. “Especially with everything that has come up in the past couple of months concerning what happened in interviews — things people have said.”

Cameron Crane, College of Natural Sciences representatives, said he had done research on his own and was confused about how students releasing information of their own accord would be considered a violation of the federal law.

“In my opinion, UT legal is just being cautious because they want to keep the University from a potential lawsuit, so they’re just going to say most things are FERPA related to prevent a potential lawsuit against the University,” Crane said.

Melysa Barth, Rules and Regulations Committee chair, said the committee discussed the possibility of creating a waiver for all applicants of internal and external positions that would allow the information to be reviewed by SG assembly members.

“The point of the checks that we wanted to have in there was that you understand by applying that your application is going to be released to these entities,” Barth said.

Another proposed solution from the committee was the inclusion of assembly members during the interview process.

“We were elected by students on this campus to vet the candidates that are being put up for appointment,” Cavazos said. “I think that, at that point, if we can’t get a hold of the notes or understand their credentials, then I think there should be an inclusion of assembly members in the interview or the assembly itself running the interview.”

SG Vice President Taylor Strickland said, while some limitations may need to be set, including assembly members in the interview process would help individuals not affiliated with SG to have more confidence in SG appointment decisions. 

Barth said the Rules and Regulations Committee will wait to propose a bill for the changes until the entire governing document has been reviewed for rule changes.