ASMSU President Gwynn Simeniuk made a statement that she would resign from office effective Oct. 1 in a letter addressed to the students of MSU. This announcement comes in the wake of controversy following her DUI charge and subsequent censuring by the ASMSU senate.
Simeniuk explained she decisided to resign when she realized that it was a necessary action to help the campus and student community move forward: “It’s something I have been considering for a while; obviously it was one of my options, but my decision became a lot more serious this past weekend. I know that there were groups of students mobilized with petitions for recall and I do not think that it is fair to drag ASMSU through a recall election.”
She continued, “At that point I thought it was best for me to step back so that ASMSU could actually focus on other important student issues that are going on,” Simeniuk said, “I think that this has received a lot of attention and I think we need to move forward and I think students need to be able to put their faith into ASMSU, and I am not sure they will be able to do that collectively if I am still here.”
Dean of Students Matt Caires commented on Simeniuk’s decision, saying, “I respect Gwynn’s decision to step down as ASMSU President. I believe this entire situation has been a series of important lessons and discussions for our students. And I think that this work in front of the ASMSU student senate needs to continue. I hope that they are ready to take the next step by defining conduct standards and expectations for elected and appointed ASMSU student leaders within their working documents.”
Looking to the future of ASMSU, Simeniuk affirmed her confidence in the abilities of current vice-president Levi Birky as he steps up to president, as well as those members of the ASMSU Senate in moving forward and accomplishing the goals she and Birky originally campaigned for. Simeniuk hopes that the current controversy will not hinder ASMSU’s work.
“I am disappointed that the whole situation overshadowed a lot of the good things we could do, but I think by stepping back we can move forward again and accomplish those things … my biggest worry is that with anything we try and move forward with, students may not have faith that ASMSU has their best interests at heart. I want students to have faith in this organization, because we can do so much,” Simeniuk said.
Though she will no longer be serving in ASMSU, Simeniuk intends to continue her campus involvement. She said, “One of the issues I would like to focus on is revising the academic calendar. I am going to be sitting on a task force, not necessarily representing ASMSU, but a task force for revising the academic calendar. The administration wants student input, so Levi and I will both be working on that. I am also still committed to improving our campus spirit, and I feel like I don’t have to be in this role to do that.”
Simeniuk concluced by saying”I think the takeaway from this is that I am very ashamed of my actions, but I am not ashamed of myself. Since that night when I received my charge I think I have handled the situation to the best of my ability.”
“I had humility in the situation and I feel at peace that I was honest about the situation and that I didn’t try to hide it. I could have and I knew there would be a lot consequences in sharing it with the public, but I think I handled it in the best way that I could have. I am not giving up; I am disappointed that I do have to step back, but I do not feel like I am giving up. I am still committed to improving student engagements and to the success of MSU.”