UPDATE: Davis no longer a candidate for OSM director, questions remain regarding hiring process


The Crimson White received confirmation on Friday from Monica Watts, Associate Vice President of Communications at the University of Alabama, that Bob Davis is no longer a candidate for the Director of the Office of Student Media position.

“The only thing I can tell you right now is that he is no longer a candidate for that position,” Watts said.

The Crimson White published multiple articles last week detailing ethical concerns surrounding Davis’ time as editor and publisher of the Anniston Star.

Watts did not confirm if Davis had been offered the position and did not offer an explanation on why Davis was no longer a candidate for the position.

The Crimson White received a tip from a candidate for the OSM Director position, who will remain anonymous. The applicant was interviewed via phone during the hiring process and spoke via email with the head of the search committee, Dana Bonifacio-Sample, during their process (see screenshot 1).

Screenshot 1

The applicant confirmed an update to their online application on the morning of Wednesday, July 17 that read “Not Hired.” The applicant also said neither the job description nor their submitted responses to the application questions were viewable, when previously they could view their submission in its entirety before they were deemed “Not Hired” (see screenshots 2 and 3).

Screenshot 2
Screenshot 3

Later in the day, the applicant checked their inbox and found an email dated July 17 at 1:43 p.m. from the University’s human resources department that read: “After careful consideration, we regret to advise that we will not be moving forward with your application” (see screenshot 4).

Screenshot 4

The University has a staff online recruitment process that lays out the steps involved in hiring someone for a position via an online job requisition on the UA On-Line Recruitment System, which is the process the candidates for the Director of the Office of Student Media most likely underwent. 

Part ‘B’ in the 11th step in the recruitment process reads: “Once the offer letter wording is approved, the HR Recruiter will approve the Offer Card and will change the applicant status to ‘Online Offer Made.’” Part ‘A’ in the 12th step says the University will “change the status of remaining candidates to ‘Not Hired’ with the appropriate not hired reason.” For the anonymous source’s application, no comments were left outlining why they were not chosen (see screenshot above). 

The Crimson White received an email from Watts on July 22 that read: “The Director of Student Media position remains open” (see screenshot 5).

Screenshot 5

“My assumption would be that you wouldn’t reject the candidates until you had hired someone,” the applicant said. “I found it unusual that they would close an application before they made a decision.”

Bob Davis, Mark Mayfield and Julie Salter were the three finalists for the position. The anonymous applicant was not one of the three finalists for the position.

The finalists were each interviewed in person by the hiring committee, the OSM staff and student leaders from The Crimson White, 90.7 The Capstone, Alice Magazine and Bama Life newsletter. The three finalist interviews (see screenshot 6) took place separately on June 11 (Mayfield), June 12 (Salter) and June 25 (Davis).

Screenshot 6

The Crimson White attempted to contact Davis to confirm if he had been offered the position but received no response.

The Crimson White filed several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests regarding emails to and from Adam Sterritt, the Assistant Vice President for the Division of Student Life, on Friday, July 19. Sterritt has the final say in the hiring of a new director. Watts said the requests should be processed by early next week.