A Disgruntled Whistleblower’s Final Farewell

Frustration, disappointment, and optimism; the details behind Cody Konno’s resignation

Mandy Chen, Staff Writer

Cody Konno, former California State University, East Bay Administrative Support Assistant (ASA) and Coordinator, wrote an emotional letter expressing the riveting details behind his decision to resign. The original iteration of the letter was quickly deleted by the university administration shortly after its publication. Given a second life, Konno’s resignation was revived and republished by The Pioneer Online under the title, “Open Letter to East Bay’s Campus Community.”

Konno started as an ASA-I, then advanced to an ASA-II position, before finally assuming the role of an Administrative Support Coordinator. After eight years of service, Konno made the decision to depart from CSUEB, driven by a desire for a career change. In the open letter, Konno aired his grievances over an inability to advance in his career, due to a lack of support network and invisible barriers: “[The system] was not allowing me to grow.” Konno views the university administration as responsible for maintaining complacency in the face of career and salary stagnation.

“There wasn’t room for employee advancement, promotions, or raise[s]. Someone who’s looking for a raise or promotion won’t necessarily get it regardless if they’re qualified or if they have the expertise.”

Commenting on the rarity of promotions among staff, Konno said, “it really comes down to the budget of the school’s financial goals.”

In further admonishment, the former employee noted that CSUEB has remained “old-school,” asserting that the process for rendering essential services, such as Human Resources, was troublesome. “[HR] would provide a roundabout, sugar-coated answer,” in response to his requests, continuing that, “at the arbitration meeting, [my case] was met with formality and not much productivity,” Konno recalled.

Despite projecting an image of a diverse, open-minded, and responsive institution, Konno’s testimony indicates contrary treatment towards faculty and staff, claiming that “[The university] talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk.” In blunt summary, Konno said, “I feel like [the system] is designed to work against you.”

Despite his concerns, Konno is aware and appreciative of the university’s heavy emphasis on enabling students towards success: “The school overall does provide a lot of support for students. There have been many improvements and they are working toward the right direction.” That being said, “unfortunately, the situation hasn’t changed for staff,” he admitted.

In light of the challenges posed by alleged university mismanagement, Konno is grateful for the technical and soft skills he acquired at CSUEB. During his time with the university, the former faculty member felt that he “gained insight on how institutions and companies operate as well as understanding the corporate/workforce culture.”

Today, Konno is a Senior Program Coordinator at the California Education Learning Lab. He is in the process of obtaining his bachelor’s degree in communication with a concentration in public relations.

To emphasize the potential flexibility of the university, Konno hopes that his letter will act as a “tool for social empowerment,” inspiring others to “advocate for themselves, utilize their voice to speak up, inspire, and motivate others to not just go with the status quo.”