In a close vote last Wednesday, College Council (CC) decided not to pass a resolution preventing a split ticket for treasurer candidates. As the head of one of CC’s major functions, funding student groups, the treasurer has a responsibility to be as thorough and consistent throughout the year as possible. A split ticket divides the position into a spring and then a fall treasurer, reducing continuity and adding another learning period for the fall treasurer. While continuity is critical for such an important position, a ban on split tickets is prohibitive for many candidates, as it would require them to serve in the position for an entire year. We at the Record are divided in our opinion, but in majority, we support CC’s decision not to pass the resolution. We hope that changes will be made to further support continuity within the treasurer position.
As it currently stands, the CC treasurer position draws from a very limited applicant pool. Candidates must have spent a year on the Finance Committee (FinCom) or petition CC to waive the requirement by demonstrating their qualifications. Treasurers, therefore, often must serve at least part of their junior year, which could conflict with candidates’ plans to study away. Forcing treasures to commit to the position for a year severely limits the number of qualified candidates. Last election, Emily Dzieciatko ’15 ran unopposed for the position, which in theory should be a highly sought-after office. Further limiting the already small pool of candidates from FinCom and petitioners may prevent anyone from running for treasurer.
Nevertheless, the close 11-10 vote against the resolution speaks to the level of concern within CC about continuity within the treasurer position. CC has recently become more conscious of how important the treasurer is by creating the assistant treasurer position and generally increasing focus on fiscal responsibility. Splitting the position across two different people in two separate semesters results in a very real loss of institutional knowledge and effectiveness. To help split tickets work, CC campus and the assistant treasurer should work to plan the transition to the new treasurer ahead of the summer to minimize the learning period at the start of the fall. Another possibility might be to run split tickets as two separate candidates entirely, making it impossible for a less popular candidate to free ride on the coattails of a more qualified partner. CC should continue its pursuit to refine and support the effectiveness of this critical office.
While CC faces a real hurdle in maintaining the effectiveness of split-term treasurers, the easy solution of prohibiting split tickets entirely would be inappropriate. The nature of the position and the unfortunate level of student involvement in CC limits the number of qualified candidates to only a few each year who may be unable to commit to a year-long position. We believe there is opportunity here, however, to further consider and improve the powers, procedures and roles of the treasurer, securing its effectiveness for the future.