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The student news site of Allegheny College

The Campus

Heated debate, but no action on ASG treasury seat

Sami Mirza
Andrew Strobel, ’24, stands during the constiuent comment period of the General Assembly on Tuesday, Nov. 28. Two weeks prior, Strobel was the only applicant to fill the vacant treasurer’s seat, but was shot down by a Senate looking to split the position into two co-treasurers. Strobel returned on Nov. 28 to ask senators why they voted the way they did.

The Allegheny Student Government spent more than 30 minutes discussing the vacant position of ASG treasurer position at their General Assembly on Tuesday evening, including questions and criticism from three constituents.

However, ASG’s Senate did not vote on an expected constitutional amendment to split the role in two, which some senators have said should be instituted before ASG selects a new treasurer. The legislation is currently being reviewed by ASG’s Rules Committee, which will next meet on Friday, Dec. 1.

All of this comes as the semester draws to a close; during her weekly report, ASG President Nicole Recio Bremer, ’25, said that the final day of finance work will be Monday, Dec. 4 — one day before ASG is scheduled to reconvene on Dec. 5.


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First Public Comment Period

ASG assemblies have two public comment periods; one at the beginning and end of the session. The first public comment in the opening session came from Andrew Strobel, ’24, the only student to apply to be ASG’s treasurer after Hunter Goerman, ’25, left the position in late October. 

However, when Strobel was presented to the Senate for a vote on Nov. 14, his nomination was shot down with a 4-4 vote that saw seven senators abstain.

During his comments Tuesday, Strobel criticized the Senate for jumping right into a vote and failing to discuss his nomination beforehand.

“Many members of the Senate did not uphold their obligation to vote on behalf of the student body, and every member of the Senate did not uphold their obligation to foster democratic discussion and debate prior to the vote,” Strobel said.

Strobel also used the comment period to ask the Senate several questions, including why senators had voted the way they did.

In response, Class of 2024 President Sasha Holguin reiterated concerns about the workload of the treasury position first raised by multiple senators at the Nov. 14 meeting. Holguin voted against Strobel’s nomination on Nov. 14, and said Tuesday that she would continue to vote down treasurer candidates without reform to how the position is run.

Reform for the position was proposed by Robinson and Senator Ray Colabawalla, ’25, at the Nov. 14 GA, in the form of a constitutional amendment that would split the treasurer position in two to create a more manageable workload. Robinson voted against Strobel’s nomination while Colabawalla abstained.

Colabawalla said that he had submitted the amendment to Attorney General Will Lowthert, ’24, for review by ASG’s Rules Committee. After amendments are reviewed by the Rules Committee, they must be approved by a supermajority of the Senate in two consecutive GAs.

To speed up the process, Colabawalla said he would call a special session of ASG within two days of the amendment being introduced to complete the vote process.

He also hit back on the idea that ASG was not running as it was supposed to.

“If people from the outside who never show up — who never bother at once until it affects them on a personal level — come in and start poking around, yes, things are not going to run the way you would imagine them running because they’ve been running a certain other way for so long,” Colabawalla said. “When change needs to be taken place, there’s no need to villainize the body working to make that change, because it’s not going to take forever.”

Colabawalla added that the Finance Committee — which consists of four senators and is led by the treasurer — had been discussing reform of the treasurer position since Goerman was in office.

“But if nothing ever got done until somebody made a big deal about it, then yeah, finally somebody made a big deal about it, yeah,” Colabawalla said. “Until then, nobody cared when it was actually an issue, right?”

He added that ASG members themselves were students volunteering their time to keep the organization running.

“Asking us why we voted this way or why we voted that way, questioning our integrity, as to whether we’re trying to do our jobs correctly —” Colabawalla said, before Strobel interjected.

“I never questioned your integrity,” Strobel said.

“Yeah, but the way you phrased that question sounded like that,” Colabawalla shot back.

At this point, Dean for Student Life Trae Yeckley spoke up and told everyone to calm down.

“This is a public space,” Yeckley said. “I’m your adviser, and I need everyone to take a deep breath.”

Strobel then continued and said that his question was aimed at understanding why the vote happened the way it did and giving ASG a chance to explain their thinking to fellow senators and constituents.

“I’m not coming out here to make your lives harder,” Strobel said. “I appreciate that you all volunteer your time for this. I’m not saying that anyone twiddles their thumbs, sits here and does homework.”

At the end of the first public comment period, Strobel asked another question: if senators have known that the treasurer position needed to be split since before Goerman left on Oct. 31, why has it taken until Nov. 28 for an amendment to be put forward?

Colabawalla replied that it would have been “awkward” to reform the position while Goerman was still in office.

“Then when there is that vacancy in the position, we’re able to start from scratch, we’re able to build a proper amendment that would help establish two co-treasurers properly,” Colabawalla said.

He added that the amendment was being worked on in the two weeks leading up to Strobel’s nomination before being interrupted by Thanksgiving break.

“It’s taken four or five weeks, but if you put it in the context and see why, then it makes a little more sense,” Colabawalla said.

Senator Kyra Jordan, ’25, said that senators’ external workloads were also slowing down the process.

“It takes a bit for that process to go through, because you have to remember: All of us are students too,” Jordan said. “Especially during finals and breaks and all of that, it’s not very feasible to just — this to be our main concern.”

ASG also heard comments from two other students. Reece Smith, ’24, said that as a club treasurer, he understood ASG wanting to spread the treasurer’s workload to two people. However, he also questioned why the Senate did not approve Strobel before considering the amendment.

“The way I see it, Andrew’s the only one applying — I mean did you guys get any more applications?” Smith said. “It seems to me that he’s probably going to be one of those two candidates if you have two positions. So why wait? Why not just put him in now so he can start getting a crack at doing a lot of the work that we need done?”

Karl Fuchs, ’24, spoke positively of Strobel, citing experience working with him in the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. Fuchs also sharply criticized ASG, saying some of his friends in club leadership say it is “impossible” to get finance requests processed and that it was “horrible” that no discussion was held on Strobel’s nomination.

“Every student at the school pays a substantial fee to have student clubs,” Fuchs said. “By not even discussing the nomination of a new treasurer, ASG is failing every single student and disrespecting them and their money. I’m extremely bothered by the lack of action that has been taken to fix this issue.”

Lowthert replied and said that the Finance Committee was still able to operate without a treasurer and that clubs were still receiving funds.

On Tuesday, the Senate approved a total of $6,604.72 in club spending for the week. In total, ASG has now allocated $39,058.41 in the month since Goerman vacated the treasurer’s seat.

For a comparison, ASG approved $3,220 in spending in the final week of November last year, and allocated $12,227.28 over the course of the entire month.


Senate Discussion

During the opening public comment period, Strobel also asked why no senator had moved to discuss his nomination before voting it down.

Senator Alexis Costanza, ’25, replied that the Senate had been asking for clarification about ASG’s finances all semester and knew about the vacancy.

“I think that’s part of the reason why we may not have been prepared to vote at the moment,” said Costanza, who was not present for the Nov. 14 meeting.

Co-Director of Student Affairs London Dejarnette, ’24, added that this year’s Senate is relatively new to ASG. Only three senators— Colabawalla, Chris Ratliff, ’24, and Class of 2026 President Lorenzo Scarnati — have served as legislators before.

Scarnati, for his part, told Strobel he regretted not starting a debate.

“It’s been bugging me since we had the vote,” said Scarnati, who voted in “yes” on Nov. 14. “I wish I had spoken up and fostered some sort of discussion — even if it’s to spark that interest, to let people know that they can do that. Sometimes I forget I can do that, but being a returning member, I’m sorry.”

Dejarnette also said that this year’s senators are “less informed” about parliamentary procedure than senators last year, but that they were not trying to blame anyone in ASG.

Both Wagner and Robinson said they were not fully aware of all their options when it came to the procedure of a vote.

“I for sure didn’t know about discussion until after everything had been said and voted on,” Robinson said. “Had I known about it, I probably would have wanted a discussion.”

The Senate has held timed, moderated debates this semester, including a two-minute discussion on Oct. 17 on whether to cancel the Gator Day GA, and a 10-minute-long conversation about approving the Ski and Snowboard Club just before Strobel’s nomination was shot down on Nov. 14.

The Senate also held a timed and moderated discussion immediately following the vote on Strobel on Nov. 14.

Senator Aidan McGrory, ’26, told Strobel he “took some issue” with the idea that senators were not voting to represent their constituents, adding that he abstained Nov. 14 because all he was provided with were Strobel’s resume and cover letter.

“I wanted to hear more from you more,” McGrory told Strobel. “I wanted to ask questions and because there wasn’t any sort of discussion, that wasn’t possible.”


Action Items

Despite all the conversation, the Senate did not advance any legislation related to financial reform on Tuesday night.

Colabawalla’s amendment never made it to the floor; it has yet to be reviewed by the Rules Committee, which will next meet on Friday, Dec. 1.

“It just has to be reviewed thoroughly by the Rules Committee,” Lowthert, who heads the committee as attorney general, said after the meeting. “It’s a change to the constitution — that’s a big thing and the Rules Committee just wants to make sure it doesn’t conflict with other parts of the constitution.”

As the amendment makes its way through committee, Recio Bremer said she will continue to present applicants to the Senate to fill the vacant treasurer position.

“As our constitution states, my responsibility is to continue to serve the student body, and so a treasurer application will be coming out tomorrow and will be presented to Senate next Tuesday,” Recio Bremer said during her report, 

Recio Bremer added that Yeckley was “overwhelmed” with serving as the interim treasurer and that even if Senators fill the treasurer’s seat, a second treasurer can be voted in if the proposed amendment passes.

Director of Community Relations Cam Lesher, ’24, pointed out that because Strobel has already been voted down, he is constitutionally barred from being voted on as treasurer until next academic year.

The only way Strobel can be renominated is if the treasurer position is significantly changed by the amendment, Lowthert said. 

“It’s more of the context of what’s in the amendment,” Lowthert said during the meeting. “I think it really depends on what the amendment actually looks like.” 


Second Comment Period

At the end of the meeting constituents had another opportunity to speak, and Strobel spoke up again to respond to the lack of action. He said that almost 30 days had passed since Goerman had left and calculated that to be “720 hours that there was an opportunity to work on the amendment.”

“You all volunteer to hold a position, and when there’s an emergency or something that the body has a problem with, then it should be worked on as soon as possible,” Strobel said. “I know people’s schedules are busy, but sometimes when it’s crunch time, you have to come up with a play. Because people are depending on you, they vote for you.”

In response, Dejarnette told Strobel that “you seem like you’d be really great in ASG,” but that they hoped Strobel would get the chance to “see the limitations” of the body.

“If there’s not a will to address these things, whether because of a lack of internal capacity — we’re small, we still have empty seats,” Dejarnette said. “This is, again, because of long-standing issues with the way that we function, and not necessarily that you are not a strong candidate.”

Jordan also criticized the institution of ASG itself and the legislative process in explaining the amendment’s delay.

“It’s very unfair to you, and this is something that is a very messed up process, the way that all of it happened in general,” Jordan said. “There are a lot of limitations and being one of the people that worked on the amendment, there are processes we have to go through, revisions, and timetables we don’t have any control over — just because it’s how it’s been for so long.”

At the close of the constituent comment section, Scarnati asked to continue the conversation about the treasury seat, but was denied by Vice President Sam Ault, ’26, who presided over the meeting.

“Constituent comments is for constituents to talk,” Ault said. “It’s not the time for Senate.”

Ault did allow Jordan to speak again and thank Strobel for his attendance and interest.

ASG next meets at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 5, in CC 301/302 of the Henderson Campus Center.

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Sami Mirza
Sami Mirza, Editor-in-Chief
Sami Mirza is a senior from many different places. He is majoring in International Studies with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa and minor in Arabic. This is his fourth year on staff and his second in the EIC position; he has previously worked on News and Features. When not writing, shooting, or editing for The Campus, Sami can be found playing a surprisingly healthy amount of video games, working the graveyard shift at Pelletier Library, and actually doing his homework.
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