Home2019-2020Issue 11Confusion follows unannounced departure of recreation director

Confusion follows unannounced departure of recreation director

Sophie Smith, Editor-in-chief

Noah Dantes, Managing Editor

After weeks of confusion among student workers about the unannounced and unexplained absence of their supervisor, Willamette officials confirmed that Kosti Efstathiou, the director of Campus Recreation, has departed from the University.

In a meeting with the Collegian’s editor, the officials offered no comment, saying Efstathiou’s departure is a personnel matter. 

The Collegian obtained an email written by Associate Dean of Students and Director of Student Activities Lisa Holliday, who oversees the Campus Recreation department. In the email, Holliday announced to the department’s 11 student coordinators that Efstathiou resigned from his position on Oct. 28 (see full email below). This resignation was preceded by weeks of Efstathiou’s unannounced absence from work. 

Holliday, who is carrying out Efstathiou’s duties until a replacement director is found, declined to comment when contacted by the Collegian

Three attempts to contact Efstathiou by phone were unsuccessful. 

In the email, Holliday thanks the student coordinators for their “patience in the last month with the uncertainty,” referring to the nearly three weeks of Efstathiou’s absence preceding his Oct. 28 resignation. This period of the director’s unexplained absence caused confusion among the student-run Campus Recreation programs Efstathiou supervised, resulting in the cancellation of department trainings and Outdoor Program (ODP) trips.

“Kosti [Efstathiou] was gone for quite a while before we were notified that he had resigned,” said Ellis Cobb (‘20), co-coordinator of the ODP. Efstathiou canceled an ODP meeting on Oct. 8, which Cobb marks as the beginning of his absence from ODP operations; Efstathiou’s resignation did not happen for another 20 days.

Gian Olsen (‘20), the Sparks Fitness Center coordinator, said Efstathiou had been student coordinators’ “direct line of communication with the department.” Olsen described Efstathiou’s sudden departure as “jarring,” causing Olsen to “think on [his] feet” to operate without the help of his supervisor. 

According to Cobb, the ODP had to cancel a CPR training Efstathiou was scheduled to lead. Because several ODP leaders did not receive CPR certifications, which are required in order to lead trips, the organization had to cancel several trips planned for October.

Cobb also said a diversity training planned for the whole department had to be postponed until next semester, since Efstathiou is no longer available to coordinate or conduct this training.

Holliday is filling in as the department’s director with the help of Zachery Cardoso, coordinator of student organizations and budgets. Both Cobb and Olsen said they are grateful for the support they have received from Holliday and Cardoso.

“Without their help, I don’t think we would be able to be in the position we are now, which feels a lot more stable than it did a few weeks ago,” said Olsen. “I think we have a lot of progress that we were making that got stunted with [Efstathiou’s] absence, and now we’re in a position that we can be supported to make up for it.”

On Friday, the Collegian’s editor met with Vice President for Human Resources Shana Sechrist and Director of Media Relations Adam Torgerson, who confirmed that Efstathiou no longer works for the University. Sechrist and Torgerson declined to comment further, saying Efstathiou’s departure is a personnel matter.

Email written by Associate Dean of Students and Director of Student Activities Lisa Holliday

slsmith@willamette.edu

ngdantes@willamette.edu

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