During an ASMSU Senate meeting Thursday, Sept. 17, the senate voted unanimously (19-0) to pass a resolution to censure ASMSU President Gwynn Simeniuk. The censure, a formal disapproval, refers to the president’s DUI charge last month. The resolution details that the president must forfeit her tuition credit for the spring, given that it is too late to revoke Simeniuk’s fall tuition credit. Normally, the president receives a semester tuition credit of $2,665.
At the meeting, eight public comments were made about the president, with five in favor of letting the president stay in office and three asking her to step down. At the end of public comment, Simeniuk made a statement in which she apologized but reaffirmed her ability to lead.
After the public comments, the resolution was brought to the table. This resolution’s intent is to “censure President Gwynn Simeniuk for admitted violations of the Montana State University Code of Conduct and State of Montana Law.” The resolution also states that “the Office of the ASMSU President is intended to embody the greatest qualities of the Montana State University student body, of which theses alleged actions do not embody.”
Senator Lauryn Windham, of the College of Education, Health and Human Development, said, “[My constituents] think that Gwynn should step down, in some way, whether forced or not.” When asked about her own opinion on the matter, Windham “supported Gwynn as a candidate in the presidential election.” However, she noted that she does not condone the behavior exhibited by Simeniuk. Pondering what would happen if other campus leaders were to be charged with a DUI, such as resident advisors or sorority leadership, she stated, “If any of them would be in trouble, they would be fired; and [the president] needs to be held more accountable.”
Windham said there has been “lots of speculation.” She noted that while she has observed a few online petitions asking for Simeniuk’s resignation, the wording “might not be correct.” However, “someone [at the senate] is willing to help them out so they can get what they want done correctly.”
In order to initiate a recall, a petition with the signatures of 15 percent of the total number of ballots cast in the most recent presidential election, which, in the case of the most recent election, is around 300 votes, must be submitted to the senate president. If such a petition is successful, a general election be held in which students will be asked whether or not the president will remain in office. When asked about a potential impeachment, which is done through a resolution written by the senate, Windham had no comment.
ASMSU Senate Meeting are held Thursdays at 6 p.m. in SUB 235.