CUSU Cash Crisis

UPDATE: Queens’ JCR President considers pulling his college out of CUSU after yesterday’s biscuit-gate revelation.

Chigbo CUSU debt tom chigbo

CUSU has sparked outrage with the recent release of the 2009-10 Budget revealing that thousands of pounds have been spent on biscuits, paper and mysterious “bad debts”.

Every Cambridge undergraduate is automatically charged £6.50 to be a member of CUSU, despite being offered the option of opting out at a later date.

However, The Tab has discovered a general lack of concern, and refusal to account for their frivolous spending.

Last year £546.34 of CUSU spending was on kitchen supplies, the equivalent of 36,429 Sainsbury’s Basics’ milk chocolate digestives, or 100 biscuits per day

A whopping £910.71 was also wasted on paper and office supplies. These costs are only for the office itself, and counted separately to important paper usage such as in printing and publication.

Overall the amount could buy 3,046 ball point pens or a colossal 146,889 sheets of A4 paper.

The most mysterious waste of all however, is CUSU's loss of an enormous £4,000.00 on what has only been referred to as “bad debts”.

The sum is defined as uncollectable expenses that will probably never be repaid. 

Queens JCR President Charlie Bell slammed the figures: "We were one of the few JCRs who voted for the cuts option in the recent CUSU Council.

"CUSU can, or at least could, be a real force for good in the University, helping all the students to achieve to the best of their abilities.

"However, it seems CUSU is more often used as some kind of political standing board than as a student-experience-centred, useful, organisation.

"Waste, overspend, lack of accountability; frankly, it's not much of an advert to retain our affiliation."

When pushed on the issue, all members of the CUSU committee and office interviewed  avoided responding. Curt replies were given such as “I’m afraid I can’t talk about that”.

Tom Chigbo, CUSU President, claimed he was surprised the nature of the “bad debts” was not made clear in the budget. However he failed to provide explanation of what they involved himself.

This general lack of concern about the flippant and unexplained spending in the CUSU committee is reflected in their “social” costs. It is further recorded that they also dedicated £507.69 of the annual budget on "office socials". What these socials involve is also left unexplained.

The newly introduced TCS Zine also tanked, losing hundreds of pound, and will be scrapped by CUSU if it fails to break even next Michelmas.

CUSU admitted in the budget that they have not looked far enough in to Local Business Advertising yet to support the cultural magazine.

Their mysterious debt and office wastage is now provoking a student backlash.

Concerned student, Wai-Cheun Cheung commented: “I’m shocked and angry: they’re supposed to be our Union. And yet they’re spending so much of our money on office piss-ups and failing to provide an explanation on how they’ve racked up so much debt”.

JCR affiliation with CUSU is optional and any JCR can withdraw at any point, removing all of its students’ contributions to the Budget.

Don't be surprised if JCRs start to look into the option. All this hob-nobbing at our expense really takes the biscuit.