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£21,630 Embezzled from Wadham MCR

It took Wadham College’s new MCR committee two months to notice that the MCR’s former treasurer pilfered £21,630 from their coffers.

by A.K.

The former MCR treasurer, GB, used the money to buy £21,630.66 of goods from Amazon and Etsy from March 5th through March 31st. She told The Oxford Whisperer that she is facing “substantial difficulties” with her mental health.

As Wadham College asked for confidentiality during their investigation, the comments provided by MCR committee members individually do not identify the person under investigation. However, The Oxford Whisperer can confirm it is the former treasurer.

The new MCR committee, which assumed control on March 9th, didn’t realise until June that the money had gone. After they investigated the matter, the former treasurer confessed and repaid the college.

Wadham’s MCR committee said in a statement that it will keep closer tabs on its bank account.

We are happy to have the money returned but we are also aware of several things that went wrong; we are working to fix them. Statement shared with Wadham MCR members

The Oxford Whisperer’s MCR Governance and Transparency report ranked Wadham MCR 25th out of 28 evaluated colleges.

The former treasurer, GB, told the new one, WG, to set up a new bank account and to let GB deal with the old one, which contained some £40,000 initially.

“I was under the impression [that we were] transitioning bank accounts,” WG told The Oxford Whisperer.

Wadham’s MCR committee told students the problem was that the new treasurer, WG, didn’t check the old bank account “in spite of multiple requests to do so.”

“I was told by that person that it would be a lot of bureaucracy with the old bank, and it would be so much simpler if we continued to work together for now: me on opening the new account, and them on the old one,” said the new treasurer.

Later, when WG accessed the old account, “things looked normal.” WG claims that he was given “false numbers,” and “these numbers were consistent with the ones I saw when I opened the account.”

I was duped by the very person that was supposed to teach me what to do. MCR Treasurer WG

The embezzlement went unnoticed for months. Maybe also because WG didn’t prepare a budget for the general meeting—going against the mandate of Wadham MCR’s constitution.

Things came to a head when the current MCR President, KMS, noticed that the funds had gone in June after a bank statement flew into her pigeonhole.

KMS reported the lost funds to Peter Alsop, Financial Bursar, and Andrew Farmery, the Dean of Wadham College.

The new MCR committee said the same person had looted the treasury before, but the new treasurer was told that the college “had intervened in order for this not to happen again,” and consequently he “truly believed that this situation was resolved.” He added: “I now see that I should have been more distrustful.”

I wish that I had received more support from college, since they knew about the situation, instead of only being supervised by the very person who stole the money. MCR Treasurer WG

Wadham College told The Oxford Whisperer that “an internal procedure is underway.”

Asked for comment, Wadham’s MCR President, KMS, said, “I entirely agree that more transparency is needed.”

Update 7/15: The MCR treasurer, WG, has stepped down.