ASSP to remove VP of Finance position

Administration aims to more evenly distribute financial responsibility in ASSP

Kit Nowicki, Staff Writer

The Associated Students Seattle Pacific (ASSP) office, located in the Student Union Building. (Gabrialla Cockerell)

After the position went uncontested last year, administration and elected students plan to remove the Vice President of Finance position from the Associated Students of Seattle Pacific University.

Dean of Students for Community Life Chuck Strawn said that the position has been difficult to train students for each year because of the sheer volume of responsibilities they have to undertake. Because of this, the position’s success rate has been unpredictable.

“We recognize that the system, the position, as it was written, did not work within the system that existed here,” said Strawn. “Because of this system, there were a lot of places where it was so complicated that the ball got dropped.”

Compared to other positions in ASSP, the Vice President of Finance has more responsibilities to undertake. The mass amount of work left to one individual led to hiccups and liability issues that the administration hopes to remedy by replacing the position.

“The position was one that was so hard to recruit someone to run for because it was just so overwhelming,” said Strawn. “When someone didn’t step into that position, we had a conversation at the university level to say, ‘Okay, is this the best way to manage this?’”

They ultimately decided to bring in a graduate student to focus on budgets in order to keep the position student-run, but also to recalibrate the finance and media duties needed so they’re divided more evenly and executed more efficiently.

“Not only helping navigate the system but also helping the system understand where the broken parts are so that we can fix it, so that things will run smoother,” said Strawn. “So that’s kind of how we get to this, the decision that we need to do something different with this space.”

The problem with removing this position, is that it is written into the ASSP Constitution. So, in order to completely remove the position, the administration will have to change the by-laws, which is done through the Constitutional Advisory Board. CAB must complete all changes made to the Constitution by the end of Spring Quarter to be approved by the Senate.

Third-year SBGE Senator Cade Huston is attempting to run for the position to keep the title in the constitution.

“I’m running for it just because they want to eliminate it,” said Huston. “I’m doing it out of respect for my constituents and everybody else at SPU.”

The nature in which the constitution is written only allows such changes to be made through the Board of Trustees. Because of this, Huston believes that administration does not have the authority to make this decision.

ASSP Executive Vice President Hannah Waterman said that the decision to remove the position wasn’t just made by administration, students elected by fellow students were also a major part in making this choice.

“For the past two years, elected students have discussed the need for the position, as it places a massive administrative burden on a student,” said Waterman. “This change was not made in the Constitution due to COVID-19 disrupting Spring Quarter, the time when the Constitution is revised.”

Strawn confirmed that the ASSP will still uphold financial responsibility, just not in the form of the Vice President of Finance. He said the treasurer has stepped up this last year and will assist the graduate student in this position, so while they’re adapting the constitution, they can make the treasurer a voting member.

“We just want to make sure that our students are able to do the things that they’re called to do,” said Strawn. “We want them to have a voice, we want them to have agency, and if we can create a system that’s going to help them out in terms of dealing with the finances in a way that they don’t have to worry about it, let’s do that.”