In last week’s edition, the Exponent published a story detailing ASMSU President Gwynn Simeniuk’s August DUI charge. Simeniuk has made it clear that despite the incident, she has no plans to step down from her position. In a statement, she wrote: “I want to follow through on the commitment I made this past spring to serve the student body as your ASMSU President. I believe that I can still be a voice for our students.”
When students enroll in seven or more credits at MSU they pay an ASMSU fee totaling $85.95. Once delegated, the student fees fund a variety of programs. Some of the programs that receive partial funding include the Streamline bus system, the Office of Sustainability, and The MSU Exponent.
What some students aren’t aware of is that they are funding Simeniuk’s salary through a portion of the ASMSU fee. As president, Simeniuk recieves roughly $1,000 per month, with an overall salary of $10,000. She also receives an in-state tuition waiver of $2,500 per semester as part of her presidency. The funding for the tuition waiver does not come from student fees.
Simeniuk is the official MSU student representative and as such we should hold her to the highest of standards — she is representing the entire student population of MSU.
When Simeniuk was charged with a DUI, she failed to adequately represent the students of MSU, which is one of her main duties as ASMSU President. As outlined in the ASMSU Constitution, Simeniuk has three specific duties, including:
- Uphold the ASMSU Constitution and Bylaws;
- Be the official representative of ASMSU and MSU students; and
- Budget for the ASMSU Administration
At the time of publication, Simeniuk was unable to further comment on the status of her legal process.
Regardless of the legal outcome, Simeniuk’s actions have brought negative attention to our student government and university. While we do not necessarily doubt Simeniuk’s ability to lead the students of MSU, we think that her past actions, should she remain in office, would continue to tarnish the reputation of ASMSU, MSU and the Bozeman community. Mistakes are inevitable, but the decisions that led to her arrest endangered the lives of our peers, teachers, friends, family and members of the Bozeman community. Simeniuk’s continued presence as ASMSU President does not accurately reflect the values of Montana State University students.
Simeniuk concluded her written apology by inviting a dialogue regarding her incident, “I would like to hear your questions, thoughts, and concerns regarding this issue.”
Interested in sharing your thoughts with the ASMSU Senate? Attend the ASMSU Senate meeting on Thursday, Sept. 10, which begins at 6:00 p.m. in SUB 235. Public comment is the first item on the agenda.