The transition of Akosua Achampong and Tt King, both MCAS ’18, next year’s Undergraduate Government of Boston College president and executive vice president, has involved some controversy over personnel, according to two students with knowledge of the situation. Notably, the interview process for some positions had to be redone because it did not meet the requirements of UGBC’s constitution.
These problems are in addition to Sunday’s SA meeting, where Achampong and King’s pick for vice president of financial affairs, Brian Lee, MCAS ’18, was not confirmed over concerns that he was not qualified for the position.
“I think that there were a lot of issues with transparency in the whole process,” said Leah Nowak, CSOM ’18. “Nobody really knew what was going on the whole time, at least from my perspective.”
For VP of student organizations, Achampong and King selected Chris Kim, CSOM ’18, over Nowak, who served on the board of student organizations for two years. Kim had not been on the board previously. Nowak said she did not receive any indication of why she was not selected.
Kim declined to comment for this story.
Nowak said that UGBC’s constitution stipulates that applicants for vice president positions must be interviewed by the incoming president, vice president, and the vice president for diversity and inclusion. When Nowak showed up in the UGBC office for her interview, however, she was told that Achampong had just left for the mall. King later came in and interviewed her, asking why Nowak wanted the position and what she hated most about UGBC and why. That was on a Thursday night in late March. On Saturday morning, she received an email that she had not gotten the position.
“It was just very odd—they were like, ‘You should stay because of your organizational capabilities,’” she said.
Nowak said the last question on the application was about intersectionality, which she speculated was the most important to Achampong and King.
One issue also came up in the selection process for the VP of communications. At first, Tyng Pan and Joon Park, both MCAS ’18, were selected to be co-VPs of communications, but Achampong and King were informed that that decision would require amendment to the UGBC constitution. Pan was put forward as their pick and was confirmed on Sunday. Park did not respond to request for comment for this story.
King said in an email that she and Achampong decided to leave the current communications department structure as is so they can better assess the growing pains of restructuring.
“The process included many conversations between the two candidates we had had in mind, our team, and Russell and Meredith’s team,” she said.
On the day after Nowak was told she did not get the position, she sent an email to Achampong and King raising some concerns about the process, including the fact that neither Achampong nor the vice president for diversity and inclusion was not at the interview. A VP of diversity and inclusion had actually not been chosen yet. On Wednesday night, Achampong and King emailed all the applicants for VP positions saying that they were going to be re-interviewed.
“Overall, the interview and selection process is much more complicated than it may seem on the surface, and is a process that develops as time and candidates go through the experience with us,” King said in the email. “Our VPDI was not in the first round of interviews as we wanted to start the process as soon as possible to ensure that candidates would have sufficient time to build their teams; the intention was to have our VPDI interview candidates after Akosua and I.”
Nowak was interviewed again, with Achampong, King, and Josh Frazier, MCAS ’20, who they had selected as VP of diversity and inclusion. It was more legitimate, Nowak said, although she didn’t expect to get the position, and after the second round was notified that she hadn’t been picked. Nowak, who will not be involved with UGBC next year, thinks Kim does not have the knowledge of precedent required to be VP of student organizations.
After each of the applicants was reinterviewed, one of the directors of the UGBC Leadership Academy, Tino Todorovic, MCAS ’18, was replaced with Dustin Thomas, MCAS ’18.
Molly Newcomb, MCAS ’18, managed Achampong and King’s campaign. She applied to be the VP of financial affairs, but was passed over for Lee, who she said Achampong and King felt had more knowledge of the department. Newcomb was also applying for a major leadership role in the Appalachia Volunteers Program, so her understanding is that Achampong and King thought that she could serve UGBC better elsewhere. Newcomb chose not to re-interview for VP of finance because she had already gotten the Appa position at the time.
“This was all happening at the end of March and the beginning of April, and knowing that they would have to flesh out the whole organization by May 1 I think they were just on a tighter timeline than they realized at first,” Newcomb said.
This year is the third time that Newcomb has watched this transition happen. Last year’s was hectic because of a lengthy election season, but two years ago, she said, the executive council was picked by the start of April.
“I managed their campaign for a reason, because I really believe that Akosua and Tt are the right direction for UGBC to go in next year,” Newcomb said. “I just kind of hope that knowing that this transition process have been a little frenetic and a little chaotic, I’m just hoping that doesn’t hinder their administration and their tenure going forward, and that as summer gets started things can kind of smooth out a bit and people can get to work.”
Featured Image by Shaan Bijwadia / Heights Staff