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The Carletonian

CSA Treasurer resigns, citing overwork and lack of transparency

On Monday, April 24, during a weekly CSA Senate meeting, Kevin Bui ’24 resigned effective immediately. The former treasurer took the opportunity to brief the rest of the council on the state of the budget and announced his resignation during an executive session. The meeting — in contrast to CSA’s usual open-door policy — entered an executive session wherein visitors, including a Carletonian staff member, were asked to leave and no minutes were taken. The motion to start an executive session was brought on due to a need to discuss appointments to vacant seats and thus review specific students’ applications.


“When [the Carletonian staff member] got kicked out, I was getting really fed up,” said Bui. “We’re CSA and we’re demanding [that] every single organization and administration be transparent — and then the one time a reporter comes in, we kick him out.”


While most of the Senate was unaware prior to the meeting of Bui’s decision to vacate the position, Bui gave CSA President Quinn Buhman ’24 and Vice-President Hala Shabaita ’24 advance notice. In an interview with the Carletonian, Buhman stated that Bui had actually requested an executive session himself in order to present his resignation.


In his presentation to senators, Bui drew attention to the budget. He explained that the Budget Committee’s allocations were larger than CSA’s income, thus creating a spending deficit. Buhman responded that while it is correct that CSA is currently allocating more money to student organizations and teams than it receives, rollover funds saved during COVID make this possible. The amount of the reserve funds is expected to be in the hundreds of thousands, smaller than the income-allocation gap of around one hundred thousand dollars. Even then, the amount CSA allots to each organization is not necessarily the money that gets spent.


“We’re spending into a deficit, so we’re basically taking it out of our reserves,” said Buhman. “An important thing to know is [that] only on paper are we spending in a deficit because at the end of each budget cycle, a bunch of [organizations] have money left over that comes back to [CSA].”


Bui stated that one of his major reasons for running for treasurer was that he was interested in how much money CSA has and where it was going.


“I want to see where it is and I asked that question to every single person on the Senate and Budget Committee and their answer was ‘Ask Quinn,’” said Bui. “It was just like ‘Ask Quinn this’ and ‘Ask Quinn that’, and I’m like, ‘What are the rest of you doing?’”


When interviewed, CSA Senator Art Onwumere ’24, who is in the Budget Committee, expressed concern at Bui’s presentation. Onwumere was familiar with the issues Bui was discussing, but felt the presentation prompted more questions and confusion.


“The presentation didn’t help anybody,” said Onwumere. “People started asking questions like ‘So are you telling us we’re out of money?’ and ‘What’s going on?’ It just created confusion.”


Bui also discussed feeling overworked in his role as treasurer. He began his term after Carleton transitioned into Workday, which changed the way student organizations expenses were filed and approved.


“When I signed up for the job I thought it was just, like, a ‘sit there and act pretty’ kind of deal,” said Bui. “And, because of Workday, I started signing checks for everything that we do. I was signing, like, 12 checks per day.”


The transition to the new software suite required that Bui and Buhman manually approve every expense regardless as to whether the Student Activities Office paid for it. This includes SAO expenses, such as those related to Spring Concert, which CSA funds. Before this year, the treasurer only had to approve reimbursement requests.


“Kevin came into being treasurer at probably the worst time that anyone could come into the role,” said Buhman. “We are smack dab in this transition to Workday and I’m still trying to become more familiar with it.”


The system, according to Buhman, is in the process of being refined such that the unnecessary verifications are removed.


Despite the fact that Bui’s departure was not announced prior to the meeting, some senators expected it.


“I figured he would [resign],” said Onwumere. “He missed the past two [Senate] meetings. So it was given to me that either Quinn was going to talk to him and give him that option, or he was going to come to his own senses.”


Upon announcing his resignation, Bui proposed invalid motions for his own impeachment, asking Buhman for explanations for his ‘charges.’ Buhman made it clear that it was a resignation and not an impeachment.


Following the announcement, Buhman took on the title of acting treasurer, a role he held during the previous CSA term. Still, Spring Allocations, CSA’s yearly process to allot money to student organizations, are coming up this May. Buhman’s time is limited as he takes on both roles. While he has a few proposals to discuss with Budget Committee, student organizations await for instructions on what the proceedings will entail.


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