A petition to impeach Wharton senior and Undergraduate Assembly Treasurer Ryan Houston is underway, according to College senior and UA member Mo Shahin.

The petition has currently been signed by more than one third of UA members, filling the requirement for a charge to be brought against a member of the UA, Shahin said.

A member of the UA, who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the topic, said the petition was organized in response to Houston’s poor performance as UA treasurer, citing “issues we had with SAC, poor management of the budget committee and neglecting virtually all the duties ascribed to him as treasurer.”

In addition, the UA member said that “there have been accusations that the UA executive [committee] has falsified attendance records to allow him to remain on the UA body.”

In response to the planned petition, Houston wrote in an e-mail, “It seems that some people are more interested in pursuing their own agendas by attacking me rather than coming together to see how we can best mange limited funds in tough times.”

“I’m disappointed to hear that some are trying to distract from the important task of finalizing next year’s budget,” he added.

Houston is due to present his plan to allocate the UA’s $2 million budget to the UA body on Feb 13.

According to Shahin, several meetings are currently being held between Houston, the UA executive board, UA general members as well as the Office of Student Affairs to determine whether the petition will be filed to the Nominations and Elections Committee.

If the petition against Houston is filed, the NEC will verify each of the signers and arrange an impeachment hearing, said College junior and NEC Vice Chair for Elections Ben Kruger. The hearing — which will take place internally in the UA — will be administered by three members of the NEC.

In November, Houston declined a seat on the Student Activities Council’s Executive body — a position assigned to the UA Treasurer, according to the Constitution of the UA.

Undergraduate Assembly Speaker G. J. Melendez-Torres, a Wharton and Nursing senior, was appointed to take his place.

“I was approached to sign the petition to impeach Ryan Houston,” said another member of the UA, who preferred to remain anonymous.

He added that some members of the UA believed that Houston has been "unresponsive to people's questions in budget matters."

Houston, however, asserted that the position of UA Treasurer “often can be the focus of anger about the tough decisions that budgeting involves. Unfortunately we are now seeing the result of some people not getting what they want.”

Not all members of the UA have come in contact with the petition. “I have heard of the petition, but I haven’t seen it,” College junior and UA Secretary Cynthia Ip said.

College senior and Undergraduate Assembly President Matt Amalfitano also said that he has not received a petition. However, “it’s within UA members’ rights to launch an impeachment process,” he explained. “We would welcome the process.”

Note: This article was edited from its print version to clarify the comments made by the UA member who was approached to sign the petition.

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