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Todd Roman Provides Us With An Update To His UND Experience


My End At Wilkerson

Todd Roman

Completed 3/6/01

 

            As I have promised in my previous account of my time at that wonderful monument to UND, Wilkerson Dining Center, I did take a jaunt to the Dining Services administrative office.  First of all, I did obtain a copy of my employment record without difficulty.  So much for a cover-up.  Secondly, I spoke with Orlynn Rosaasen, the director.  I related my point of view (including a copy of my essay), observed that I felt unfairly dealt with, and took my leave.  Either that afternoon or the day after (I donít quite remember which, probably the latter), I gave a copy of my account to Mark Wilkerson, who I had identified previously as ĎCoffee-Man.í  I toyed with the idea of giving a copy to the student manager Erik Johnson, otherwise known as ĎErr,í but I ultimately decided that that would be unnecessary.  The rest of the week, I submitted my essay to certain individuals, but otherwise put the matter from my mind.  Oh, I also apparently forgot to check my mail.

            Ah, why was I terminated, I hear you ask?  Here is an typed approximation from my payroll form:

EFFECTIVE DATE/TERMINATION DATE            02/27/01

REASON FOR ABOVE CHANGE            ďinsubordination & failure to attend mandatory meetingĒ

Well, Iím guessing that the mandatory meeting part is almost an afterthought, largely because that alone is not grounds for immediate dismissal, while the insubordination charge is.  Anyway, thatís what they charged me with, both of which, admittedly, are technically true.  I say technically because, as anyone who has read my account of events, understands that I feel rather different about the entire affair. 

Regardless, I gave the two administrative officers my own version of events.  I also went home for the intervening weekend, so I did not check my mail until Monday (yesterday, as I write this).  I found a letter from Orlynn Rosaasen amidst a clutter of what is otherwise largely uninteresting mail.  Anyone want to guess what it says?  Anyone?  Hereís a transcript of the body:

Dear Todd:

 

Thank you for visiting with me yesterday [Wednesday] afternoon.

 

After reviewing your termination with Mary Urbanski, Assistant Director for Residential Dining, I determined the proper procedures were followed in your termination.

 

You were terminated for insubordination.  It states in the Student Employee Handbook that insubordination is grounds for immediate termination and do [sic] not require previous oral or written disciplinary action.

 

Sincerely,

 

[more of a monogram than a signature rests here]

 

Orlynn Rosaasen

Director of Dining Services

            The date of the letter?  March 1.  Itís intercampus mail, of course, so it could have been written at any time.  Anyway, for my two sympathetic supporters in the back of the room, yes, the Student Employee Handbook does give insubordination as a reason for immediate termination, on page 15, if anyoneís interested.  So, ultimately, yes, I was properly terminated.  Of course, there is no explanation of insubordination given in the handbook, and the dictionary definition is basically disobedience to authority.  The word is italicized in the handbook, as well, which seems to indicate keywords that the management is choosing due to some strange criteria.  Why do I say strange?  Well, under the heading of ĎPersonal Conductí on page 12, the management seems to feel that, if anyone is interested in just browsing the page, it is more important that the reader understand that negative comments about the food will result in disciplinary action rather than that drugs are not allowed in the dining center. 

            Not to go too far out on a tangent, but what does all this ultimately mean?  Well, it means that anyone can just be shot off for a bad night and that the management team can fire anyone for any reason so long as they can toss it off under insubordination.  For me, it was a fair cop, if a bile inducing one.  No real loss to me, except for over a year of my time and effort, but Iím wondering just how far the Dining Services is going to go with such an ambiguous operations manual and onerous management team.  Well, the team itself isnít too much to blame, I suppose.  I can understand how itís just easier to brush a problem (or a few dozen) under the carpet rather than confront it.  Enough bitterness and disappointment, however.  I am me, and I shall look to the future as I always have, relying upon my innate talents and abilities.

            Well, actually, since this is me, a few parting shots against the dining center.  If I am going to let go, I intend to do it with a grin on my face and imprecations against me at my back. 

            First of all, to whatever student or full-time employees of dining services that are reading this:  If weíve never met, then I hope that you have derived at least some enjoyment or similar emotion from this and the previous essay.  If we have met, well, then you no doubt have your own thoughts about myself and my perspective.  I hope that they are sympathetic, but whichever.  To Mr. Orlynn Rosaasen and Ms. Mary Urbanski, I say only that the curt, yet paradoxically cordial, response to my concerns is not unexpected, but, I hope, not the final monogrammed missive I shall receive from you.  May the greater body of your institution not erupt in hell-sent flames.  See, Iím being nice.  Also, to any readers who have enjoyed my work up to this point, you may want to avoid reading the rest of this essay.  I get mad right about . . . here.

            To Mr. Mark Wilkerson, the man who nods too much:  How do I loathe thee?  Let me vent the rage.  Well, considering the fact that I had had a good (I think above average, but thatís me) term of employment under your command for well over a full year, and that, during that time, you have had a plethora of opportunities to address any concerns with me about my conduct, I actually would describe you as irresponsible for failing to seek out clarification of the incident or incidents (Iím still not completely certain) that led to the current situation.  I donít care what anyone says, 79 words in one sentence is impressive.  Also, I do find it rather odd that full details were not forthcoming upon my initial notification.  But then, I still wonder why it is that I have worked for over three semesters yet have had only one written evaluation.  Nonetheless, I do not envy you what you seem to feel is your duty to prioritize among the indiscretions of your employees.  Therefore, I say only this:  I so enjoyed almost getting beaned by your football during clean-up that one time.

            To Mr. Erik Johnson, the man who is an indefinable mystery to me.  Iíll assume that you, like most college students, have a difficult life and there are actual reasons for you being, well, inappropriate far more often than anyone else Iíve ever met.  Nonetheless, I do wish that I was not standing by your side that one night this semester when you told us to observe a passing young lady as you gleefully mentioned the method by which she consumes her chosen dessert, including which particular sexual act the process resembled.  In private, I suppose that I would have laughed, but the fact that we were in public, well, made the situation uncomfortable to say the least.  Anyway, you obviously have personal issues and I still have no wish to deal with you.  Now I donít have to.  All the same, if you have such behavioral and personality problems in this occupation, I shudder to contemplate the experience of any of your future business associates.  Also, I donít think that Iíve ever really liked you (so youíre feeling is mutual), but I do like how Iíve managed to tolerate you for so long.  Still, I doubt that Iíll ever shake the eerie feeling that you were propositioning me somehow.

            With my final rants now out of the way, I would like to reassert my position that the UND Dining Services in general, and Wilkerson Dining Center in particular, suffers from a malaise that is not receiving the treatment it requires.  For my lot, I am satisfied for now.  I remain a student at this university, however, so I do consider the malaise worth some future involvement on my part, especially as I am currently contributing money for it.  I do not know what form this involvement will take, but I do know that I feel myself vindicated in my own eyes, and am thus better prepared to meet another, similar management team in the future.  For any individuals who have followed these essays to this conclusion, I thank you for the attention, and whatever consideration, you have given them.