Associated Students has once again violated the public’s trust.

Following last week’s unannounced secret meeting of Legislative Council, the Daily Nexus has been made aware that UCSB Associated Students allegedly trashed a rental house while on a retreat funded by student fees. The property manager said A.S. left behind multiple alcohol bottles and thousands of dollars worth of damage. An official statement sent by A.S. Executive Director Marisela Marquez avoided answering specific questions about the case, except to confirm A.S. is aware of the allegations.

This type of behavior on the part of elected officials is unacceptable. Associated Students is not just some private club, although these events imply an attitude to the contrary. They are an elected body charged with representing the entire undergraduate student body. They control the spending of nearly $9 million of student money, and executive officers receive full tuition at our expense. They are undeniably accountable to us for the use of our money, as well as their conduct while on “official” business.

Associated Students, as an organization and as individual members, should be ashamed of themselves. It’s shocking enough that they felt justified in spending hundreds of dollars of student money for a weekend long party, but to recklessly cause substantial property damage because they can’t hold their liquor is inexcusable. Especially at a time when students are facing ever-rising fees, A.S. should reduce superfluous spending and focus on benefiting students in tangible ways. If these allegations prove true, those individuals responsible must take personal responsibility for their actions and pay for the damages from their own bank accounts, not ours.

Behind this single incident of alleged reckless behavior lies the much larger issue of a culture of irresponsibility and lack of accountability. Associated Students has a history of raucous retreats: A former A.S. External Vice President confirmed that an official retreat last year also ended in repercussions for alcohol use. Legislative Councils refusal to inform the public about last week’s secret meeting, as most elected bodies are required to do, proves a disgusting lack of respect for those they claim to represent.

The audacity shown by both those representatives and campus administrators in keeping the public in the dark about what took place at a student-funded retreat is a slap in the face to the student body. What’s done is done, but they can still make the right decision going forward. Keeping the public in the dark implies guilt: If A.S. wants to regain student trust, they must live up to their campaign promises of transparency and conduct their business as responsible individuals and accountable government officials.