Another £100,000 please! CUSU is CU-Screwed after finance goes astray
Believe it or not, they’ve been bailed out
Only in the bizarrely complicated and nonsensical world of student politics can an organisation seek a bailout because of lost income from a lucrative contract they themselves decided to terminate.
Got it? No, probably not. We didn’t either the first time.
In short, CUSU have cocked-up again because they prioritised their bizarre ideals before the real world.
The (surprising or unsurprising?) revelations have come from the recently released minutes of the meeting of the Council Committee for the Supervision of the Student Unions.
Held on 11 May 2015, the meeting saw CUSU seek a bailout from the university to the tune of £100,000.
This was to replace significant “lost income” that left CUSU unable to fulfil its commitments to students without accepting emergency funding from the university under “exceptional” circumstances.
CUSU General Manager Mark McCormack stated in the meeting that CUSU expected to make a loss £67,000 by the end of the 2014/2015 financial year.
The Council Committee stated that it would be “difficult” for the committee to have confidence in future CUSU budgets following the bailout and they stressed that “it would not expect to support any application for emergency funding in the event that CUSU’s commercial ventures failed to achieve the anticipated levels of income.”
But you can’t keep CUSU down, it seems. The committee describes CUSU as having forecast “ambitious” income targets for it’s budget in the new academic year.
The Council Committee cited in particular the failure of the annual Guide to Excellence to generate the expected £40,945 as a “significant hole” in CUSU finances.
The minutes state that “the income from external publications contracts provided a core part of the funding on which CUSU relied to support its’ services for students.” CUSU is one of the largest student publishers in Europe and makes a great deal of its income from publishing.
Although profiting from the annual Guide to Excellence publishing contract, CUSU decided they no longer wanted anything to do with the thing (perhaps the most irrelevant book in history until today’s publicity storm). Which is odd because The Guide to Excellence is about nothing other than the “50-year history of CUSU” itself.
What’s more, the Cambridge Graduate Union also came under fire from the Committee after it was revealed that, in their draft budget, expenditure was listed for events without any corresponding income.
Even more shockingly in the figures listed in their budget as their “shop income” the GU mistook their gross margin (representing sales minus the cost of goods sold, divided by sales) for their gross income, which would be their total income from the shop.
But, despite these surpluses, the minutes of the Council Committee show that CUSU, when asked if they would consider a loan, replied that they had but “further thought would need to be given to whether it would be possible to repay it.”