In the complex world of university administration, the Original Poster (OP) is at the crux of an ethical and professional difficulty. Tasked with hiring a new employee who has access to sensitive student data, OP discovers the candidate’s polarizing political views during a routine social media check. As fears of compromising the security of vulnerable student data clash with the need to respect the diversity of opinions, OP must make a critical decision.
The University Position
OP works at a university in a department handling sensitive student information. Most of these students are either international or undocumented, making their data particularly vulnerable. The data includes social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, emergency contacts, and AB540 documents.
A Candidate Emerges
There is a position open in the department, and several candidates apply. One candidate impresses during the interview process, emerging as a strong finalist. This is despite the sensitivity of the information the job handles and the vulnerability of the student population.
Social Media Check
Following the final interview round, OP’s team conducts a social media check on the finalists. They find the candidate’s Facebook account, where the last name appears slightly different. They also discover certain aspects of the candidate’s political inclination.
The MAGA Hat
One picture on the candidate’s Facebook account shows him wearing a Make America Great Again (MAGA) hat, a symbol associated with Donald Trump’s campaign. This discovery prompts OP to scrutinize the candidate’s Facebook account further.
They found that the candidate had liked some insensitive comments about undocumented children in cages. OP is concerned about the implications of hiring a candidate with potentially opposing political beliefs.
The Internal Conflict
OP is concerned for the safety and security of the students’ confidential data. There is, however, a sense of uncertainty as he questions whether it’s too hasty to form an opinion based on the candidate’s political views.
The Final Decision
OP is faced with the decision of whether to hire this candidate. The candidate is more than qualified for the position, but OP’s discovery about his political affiliations raises questions about his suitability. This decision is more challenging due to the nature of the information the department handles and the vulnerability of the students.
An Unexpected Twist
OP comes to learn about a cybersecurity breach in a neighboring university, with confidential student information being compromised. This news further intensifies OP’s concerns regarding data security. The perpetrator behind the cybersecurity breach had similar political affiliations as the candidate.
The Brewing Storm
News of the cybersecurity breach at the neighboring university causes unrest among OP’s university students. The atmosphere becomes tenser, and the importance of data security is reiterated. OP grapples with the decision-making process, increasingly leaning towards not hiring the candidate.
Due to the cybersecurity breach, there is increased scrutiny of the hiring processes at OP’s university. A new rule is proposed that mandates an in-depth background check on all candidates. This makes OP’s decision more complex as the candidate had performed exceptionally well in the interview.
The Internal Dilemma
OP battles the internal dilemma of professional judgment versus personal fear. He questions if his concerns about the candidate’s political affiliations are indeed valid. Yet, the recent cybersecurity incident strengthens OP’s resolve to prioritize student data security.
OP decides to consult with his superior about his dilemma. OP discloses his findings about the candidate’s social media activities. The superior acknowledges OP’s concerns but asks him to adhere to the university’s hiring procedures.
The Background Check
In compliance with the new hiring procedures, a thorough background check on the candidate is initiated. OP is on edge, waiting for the results. Tension mounts as the security of the student information hangs in the balance.
The results from the candidate’s background check come in, revealing no prior criminal activities or any red flags that would jeopardize the safety of student information. OP delays the final decision, wrestling with his fears versus the candidate’s qualifications.
Was The Man’s Behavior Appropriate?
Torn about how to proceed, OP posts his dilemma online for advice. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter. Here are some of their responses:
One reader said, “Trump supporters don’t have a difference in opinion. They have a difference in morality. You don’t want someone like that working with a vulnerable population.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “Keep your community safe. It’s not worth the stress of wondering if he will cause an issue and firing him because he is reported those who are undocumented WILL cause an issue.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “Protect your students. We see videos and read stories every day of people doing crazy things and say it’s because they support Trump or did it because they feel like he told them to. You just never know these days. Don’t take a chance.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “Not hiring someone because of something on social media is super common. Not hiring someone because their feed is political is even more common. You can choose not to hire someone because you don’t think they will fit the office climate.”
What Do You Think?
What are your thoughts on their actions?
What would you have done in this situation?
This story is inspired by a thread from an online forum.