Calling commenters of The Tab. For one term only, CUSU are yours. Ask them anything you like.
For the next eight weeks, commenters of The Tab, CUSU are at your mercy. All you have to do is comment below with a question you would like to put to CUSU. Ask anything. And we mean anything.
For the first week Flick Osborn, CUSU President, answers:
‘CUSU represents students, but students don’t seem to care, so what’s the point?’
CUSU seems to me to be a bit like Game of Thrones.
Some people get properly into it and once that’s happened, there’s no real way out; you’re personally invested in the next big battle or love story on the horizon and it’s part of life, for better or worse. Some people actively hate GoT – CUSU, if you will – and think it’s ridiculous that some individuals are quite as keen as they are when the whole thing is fictional/useless anyway (Tab commenters, I’m looking at you). The vast majority don’t really care either way and think they have bigger things than GoT to be thinking about.
When I first thought of this while peeing earlier – all the best ideas occur in the bathroom – it sounded a little ridiculous. The more I’ve reflected, the more convinced I am that this might actually be the best comparison I’ve thought of in a while. You might ask how bad my other ones are, but bear with me.
CUSU has pretty serious enemies to deal with, often faceless beasts like University Bureaucracy, Severe Lack of Funding and Apathy. And that’s just locally; there is much, much more damage being done to education nationally. Regardless of how interested students are in what we do, the CUSU sabbatical officers will keep fighting battles against stuff like this while also trying to do their jobs. As anyone who watches GoT apparently knows, battles are actually exciting!*
We don’t work at CUSU to earn a lot of money. We definitely don’t do it because it means we’ll be BNOCs and served free drinks at every bar in Cambridge (I went out more times in exam term of my final year than the whole of this year put together). We don’t do it because we know we’ll get recognition and thanks for the massive number of hours we pour into our jobs.
We do it because those battles are worth fighting regardless of how many of you care about what we do to fight them. When the government cuts Disabled Students Allowance and your university is trying to make up the gap, or when the Collegiate University is consolidating the College Graduate Fee into one single fee and working out all the terms and conditions, you need your students’ union to be at the table discussing and negotiating for you. I can guarantee that the changes which CUSU contributes to will affect you, for better or worse depending on how well the sabbs you elect do their jobs.
And there’s the point: CUSU does something VITAL. It has seats at tables where decisions are made and it uses those to affect things, for you, for the better. It fights the battles that matter. Like GoT, I’m resigned to the fact that there will always be people who love what we do and those who hate it but what I refuse to resign myself to is the number of you who just don’t care at the moment.
All of you fence-sitters should pull the splinters out of your bums and work out where you really want to be.
Unlike those who hate GoT or are totally indifferent, you’re actually a plot writer for CUSU. You’re a stakeholder in what CUSU does, like it or not. You’ll be represented by CUSU for the entirety of your stay in Cambridge, as an undergraduate or a graduate, at an affiliated or disaffiliated college. Whether you love, hate or don’t give a toss about how CUSU works now, you have the power to change the plot and tell us which battles to fight, who to fall in love with and where to invade next.
Choose whether to change the plot by voting in our referendum here until 5 May: www.vote.cusu.cam.ac.uk
Got a question for Flick and the CUSU gang? Let them know below.