EDITORIAL: Cavataio must choose between Student Government President and Facilities Management PR

This editorial board congratulates Student Government Association President Vincent Cavataio on his new internship with Central Michigan University Facilities Management.

We also believe it is appropriate to call for his resignation as president as long as he maintains his employment in the position.

Though the internship is meant to be solely focused on promoting FM’s efforts in sustainable energy, there can be no room for a potential conflict of interest between the students’ best interests and those of the university for the head of our student government.

His pursuit of the position is understandable, as it is closely related to his desired career. It is only paid minimum wage, ruling out any concerns of palm-greasing, and as stated in previous articles, the time commitment will not be demanding enough to detract from his other pursuits.

Cavataio’s position on CMU’s Strategic Planning Team with Associate Vice President of Facilities Management Steve Lawrence simply gave Cavataio a good chance to seek out and attain the opportunity. He cannot be blamed for taking the job, but he can be questioned for retaining his position as SGA president while doing so.

It is important to note Cavataio will not be working for direct CMU public relations, which could very well put him in the middle of a disagreement between the university and students. But because the first role of SGA president is to be the voice of the student body, the ties with CMU his new job will form may pose an ethical problem. How can one represent the students while, at the same time, work for the university in a public relations position?

Interim Dean of Students Tony Voisin referenced Cavataio’s enrollment in only one seminar class as a reason his schedule is open enough to handle both jobs. While this editorial board has no disagreement that Cavataio could handle the schedule, we question the ethical problems this creates.

The Public Relations Society of America’s code of ethics advises its members to avoid conflicts of interest and act in the best interest of clients or employers. As an elected official by the students he needs to avoid any conflict of interest that could even potentially come with this job.

As long as he is burdened with even the slightest responsibility to serve the university’s interests over any others, including those of the students, he cannot be trusted as their ultimate representative on campus.

To use an old proverb, he cannot have his cake and eat it too.


  1. Michmediaperson says:

    Well said, well-written editorial.

    I hope CMU will do another editorial on the HR process on how this whole thing came down.

    Jobs, especially paid positions, should go through a proper request for the expense it will create and then the proper posting, interviewing and final hiring.

  2. You fail to explain why promoting sustainable energy (something we should all be doing) makes President Cavataio unfit to maintain his position as SGA president. If, in fact, he was doing PR work for the FA, the administration, or a department on campus surrounded by controversy, the conflict of interest would be clear; however, that is not the case. By seeking an internship with Facilities Management, Cavataio is further developing skills that will make him more highly qualified for his future career in PR as well as for his position as SGA president. It is a disgrace that you would call for the resignation of a student leader who is simply doing what the rest of us should!

  3. How Dramatic says:

    Wow, CM Life.  You really must have NOTHING to write about anymore.  I’ll never understand how CM Life gets any awards — every article is worse than the last one.

    This makes absolutely no sense.  If this is your logic, then does every CMU SGA member (all of whom are responsible for representing students, just as Cavataio is) have to hold NO outside employment through CMU, for fear of a conflict of interest?  That is ridiculous.
    Stop making something out of nothing and find a real issue to write about.

  4. CMU Staff since 78 says:

    I am appalled that you think we, at Facilities Management, does not stand for the same goals as CMU as a whole. As for your lack of trust in Vince, shame on you all.  You’re views are shallow and uneducated.

  5. A fair number of students who work for CM Life are involved with, and even work for, the university. Would that cause a conflict of interest, using the same argument? This could be a slippery slope here.

    • Michmediaperson says:

      Big difference gimp.

      CM LIFE has a process that they interview and hire their top staff members and all staff members.

      What exactly was the process used by the Facilities Management to first get permission to develop this position.  Second, when did they post the position.  Third, who all got to interview.  Fourth, what was the process to hire the top candidate????????  All these questions.

      Why doesn’t the Facilties Management people tell us what the process was?  Was it the old buddy system?

      One other comment:  I’m sure CM LIFE is getting enough paid advertising to pay its employees.

      Gimp, big difference!

  6. Future chip? says:

    Doe’s CM life have anything to write about? This is honestly getting ridiculous. Is the next article going to be about how the SGA president should resign because he has black hair and that is a conflict of interest? You guys have a great leader in front of you who is trying to help, yet you still question his every move. You should all be embarrassed and ashamed, if this is how you treat your leaders, I’m not so sure I would ever end want to become a future chip.

  7. There is nothing silly, uneducated, or even banal about CM Life’s coverage of this.  How can a person, one elected to represent the students, be objective?  How can 
    Cavataio be both beholden to his elected responsibilities while also being beholden to his new boss.   I do feel for Vince; all of this press must be a tad disconcerting, but there is a reason why separation needs to exist between possibly conflicting entities – to allow a fair process, to allow a proper forum for grievances and, most importantly, to allow the students’ voice to be heard unhindered by ulterior motives.

  8. CMU Alum '78 says:

    To “How Dramatic” and “Future chip?”: If this article was so bad, why did you bother to read it???  Furthermore, why even bother making a statement about it???  You know, you DON’T HAVE to leave a comment.  Sheesh…this generation….

  9. Future chip? says:

    To “CMU Alum ’78″ there was no need for this article to even be published. You all go to the same school so why bash Mr. Cavataio? instead why not try helping him in succeed in making CMU a better school?

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