Joni Morris elected president of SSA
Effective Thursday, June 1, HFC Financial Aid Associate Joni Morris will become the president of the HFC Support Staff Association.
Morris succeeds HFC Campus Safety Department Secretary Sarah Sullivan, who has served as interim president of the SSA in April and May, and HFC Academic Advisor Leslie Windless, who stepped down from the SSA presidency in March. Morris will finish out the current presidential term, which runs through Wednesday, Dec. 31.
“We will be reviewing our contract, so we'll be ready for negotiations,” said Morris. “I also plan to build on the foundation Leslie and Sarah created – increasing transparency among our members and improving communication between the SSA, Human Resources, and the President's office. I want to continue that open dialogue."
Experience with SSA leadership
Morris has held leadership positions in the SSA before she was elected union president. From April 2019 to December 2022, she served as the treasurer. From August 2022 to December 2022, she pulled double-duty and served as steward.
Morris is unsure if she’ll run for the presidency after this term at the end of 2023. Her first grandchild is on the way and she plans to return to school.
“Right now, I'm just focusing on this year and what needs to be accomplished,” she said.
“I have known Joni for about seven years. She has always been kind, helpful, and goes above and beyond to help anyone,” said Sullivan. “Joni is a smart, strong, dedicated employee who is also an amazing advocate for our students, the SSA, and all of HFC. She served on the SSA Executive Board from 2019 through 2022. Even though her term ended, her service did not. Joni committed to make herself available to the almost entirely new SSA Executive Board. We are lucky to have her willing to step into the SSA presidency. I am honored to not only consider her an amazing teammate, but also a friend. I look forward to her leadership and serving with her.”
A rewarding career in higher ed
A native of Flint, Morris is the eldest of two. She graduated from Grand Blanc High School and attended Mott Community College in Flint, where she earned her associate degree in general business administration with a focus on accounting. She has been accepted to Walsh College in Troy, where she plans to complete her bachelor’s degree in accounting. Morris lives in Dearborn with Dave, her husband of eight years. She has an adult son named Chase.
Morris has spent nearly 24 years in higher education. She began when she was a work-study student at Mott. She later filled in for a colleague in career services who went on maternity leave.
“Higher ed was something I never considered, but it got me where I am today,” she explained. “It’s been rewarding for this past two decades.”
Morris has worked at HFC since 2004, starting the day before her birthday. She reports to HFC Assistant Director of Financial Aid Stephanie Latzke. She has seen some changes over the years.
"I provide service to colleagues all over campus who have questions about financial aid," she said. "My duties include reviewing defaulted loans, discharged loans, bankruptcy status, and grants overpayment. I also monitor transfer students to make sure they aren’t receiving financial aid across multiple schools.”
“Quite a roller coaster ride”
For Morris, the best part of her job is working with students.
“Hands down, it’s the students,” she said. “It’s been quite a roller coaster ride over the time I’ve been here. The culture has changed for the better. There have been many positive changes. The students have been very receptive to change. I hear that we are appreciated for what we do. It’s nice to know that.”
Latzke spoke highly of Morris.
“Joni does a great job in her role as a financial aid associate,” said Latzke. “She is incredibly knowledgeable, thorough, and has a great understanding of financial aid. She does a great job serving both staff and students, using her knowledge and skills to help answer questions about financial aid, as well as navigate the financial aid process. I love having Joni as part of the financial aid team!”
SSA Executive Board
Effective June 1, the SSA Executive Board will comprise:
- President: Joni Morris
- Secretary: Michelle Hill
- Treasurer: Raed Abukhader
- Steward: Sarah Sullivan
- Steward: Angela Cheatham