ASMSU President Gwynn Simeniuk publicly apologized to students in a statement yesterday for an August drunk driving incident. Simeniuk, 21, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and parking on a sidewalk on Sunday, Aug. 16 at 3:28 a.m. Officer Ben King of the Bozeman police found her in her stopped vehicle on the sidewalk and grass of South Wallace Avenue and East Curtiss Street, according to arrest records. Simeniuk is facing 24 hours to 6 months in jail and between a $300 and $1000 fine if convicted.
Simeniuk noted her duty to serve students, as well as her violation of this duty in her statement. She wrote, “I made a commitment last spring to serve you by acting at all times in the best interests of the student body … my recent actions have not upheld this commitment.”
Dean of Students Matt Caires commended Simeniuk on her transparency and willingness to work with, listen to and engage concerned students. “I appreciate the fact that she’s taking this time to listen to her constituents – It’s rare in this world do you find elected officials who listen.”
ASMSU Director Marianne Brough also backed up Simeniuk’s handling of the incident, saying she “believes [Simeniuk] can be a good leader.” Brough plans to help facilitate the dialogue between ASMSU senators, Simeniuk, and students. She said, “We will be taking this time to hear from students and stakeholders and reflect upon the appropriate actions. It is clear to me that President Simeniuk is very remorseful and is dedicated to earning back the students’ trust. I believe she can be a good leader.”
The ASMSU president hopes to reconcile with her constituents through listening to their concerns about her role. She said, “My intent is to be able to start an open dialogue … [students] need an opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns.”
When asked if the legal proceedings of the DUI charge will interfere with her duties to the student body, Simeniuk had no doubts that she will continue to serve MSU: “I know the legal process is something that takes time, but last spring I made the commitment to make [the students] my first priority, and I intend to make it still my first priority.”