SGA Executive Treasurer cements financial power without a treasury team


Chris Van Buskirk

SGA Executive Treasurer Abigail Semple.

By Tomas Gonzalez

SGA Executive Treasurer Abigail Semple, who has voiced complaints throughout the 2019-20 academic year regarding the workload associated with her position, will not hire a treasury team during her second semester on the job—effectively consolidating her power around a million dollars in student organization funding.

The absence of a treasury team, an asset previously used by former executive treasurer Ian Mandt, leaves Semple solely in charge of processing paperwork for nearly 100 organizations on campus. The move protects her from any challenges regarding her eligibility, either via impeachment or clauses surrounding ineligibility, as there is no person immediately available to assume the role of treasurer. 

While Semple did not deny that the move is an effort to solidify power to protect herself from a removal process, she told The Beacon in an interview Wednesday that she has said it to SGA members in the past as a joke. 

“I joke a lot, I feel like that’s really been the theme of the semester,” she said. “I say a lot of things that are [jokes] but consolidating power so I can’t get impeached. Yeah, it’s not funny at all.”

SGA Advisor Jason Meier said he has heard about Semple’s intentions behind not hiring a treasury team and would not deny the validity of the claim. 

Semple gave several justifications as to her decision, telling The Beacon that students approached her in the past with interest in forming a treasury team, but they ultimately pulled out of joining after understanding the large amount of work. Semple would not provide specific names of people who approached her to The Beacon. 

“Part of it is also like a philosophical perspective of, I don’t get paid to do a lot of work,” she said. “I don’t feel comfortable expecting other students to also not get paid to do a whole lot of work.” 

Previous Beacon reporting found that Semple is in violation of two grounds of the SGA constitution. Article VIII, Section II, Point B, dictates that if impeachment proceedings were to take place, the vice-treasurer would assume the role. 

“If the accused officer is the Treasurer, the Vice-Treasurer shall assume all duties of the Treasurer until such time as the proceedings have concluded,” it reads.

However, the constitution does not dictate what the process would look like if there is nobody in the position of vice-treasurer. If the executive treasurer were to be removed without a successor then all SGA treasury work would be frozen. 

Last academic year, Mandt employed a treasury team of four people: including himself, Rachel Levin as vice-treasurer, then-freshman Amogh Matthews, and then-sophomore Joseph Davidi. In the case SGA members removed Mandt, Levin would have taken on the duties of he executive treasurer with the aid of the treasury team, according to the SGA constitution. 

Semple rose to her current position during the highly contentious spring general 2019 elections, which saw the top two vote-getters, then-sophomore Davidi and then-freshman Brady Baca drop out—leaving Semple with the position after a short write-in campaign. Although Semple rose to the position, she only managed to garner 86 votes.

Correction 2/27/2020: A previous version of this article incorrectly referenced the SGA treasury team as an asset commonly utilized by past executive treasurers. The treasury team was first added to SGA’s constitution in the fall 2018 semester and has only been utilized by former executive treasurer Ian Mandt. The article has been updated to reflect that.

Correction 2/27/2020: A previous version of this article misquoted Executive Treasurer Abigail Semple as saying, “I say a lot of things that are jokes but consolidating power so I can’t get impeached. Yeah, it’s not funny at all.” The word ‘jokes’ in the quote was implied. The quote should have read, I say a lot of things that are [jokes] but consolidating power so I can’t get impeached. Yeah, it’s not funny at all.” The article has been updated to reflect that.