CUSU Council agenda shows 2200% increase in NUS fees

They were anticipated to be only £250

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Official agenda for Monday’s CUSU council has revealed that affiliation fees to the NUS are set to increase by around 2200%, to  £5,765 for the year. 

During the campaign to remain affiliated to the NUS last year, CUSU issued statements saying that the affiliation fee was calculated at being £250 per annum, with CUSU’s budget for 2016-2017 being set in line with this figure.

This figure, however, neglected to give information on the thousands of pounds paid to the NUS for conferences, and other fees which set the figure at £3,250 in total. The infogram below, created by Jack Benda, illustrates CUSU’s 2016-2017 budget with the £250 affiliation fees and payment for conferences taken into account. This will be significantly be changed by the increase in affiliation fees.

An invoice received by CUSU in early 2017 showed that fees had been recalculated after an “initial review” to be £5,765 for the year. Although this was initially disputed by the General Manager, CUSU’s Trustee Board have agreed to pay the 2016-2017 fee. They also gave the instruction this month that the change should be communicated by CUSU council, which will be done this Monday.

to disaffiliate or not to disaffiliate, that is the question

Although the affiliation fee for all Unions next year is as yet uncertain, the NUS have revealed that a new affiliation model will be presented at their conference in April, to which CUSU are sending six delegates.

However, a member of the Trustee Board who has the role of setting affiliation fees has estimated that the fees for 2017-18 will rise again, costing around £9,500 for the year. The budget will be set for this accordingly at CUSU’s first council of Easter term.

Have CUSU been withholding information?

The minutes resolved to mandate the CUSU President to continue negotiations on this issue, as well as to make clear through NUS negotiations that if they insist on this high fee, they will take this into consideration when the debate on affiliation to the NUS is revisited.

Julius Haswell, supporter of the disaffiliation campaign, told The Tab “It’s now clear that Cambridge students were misled during the referendum. I suspect that a lot of people will have voted to remain affiliated during the referendum because it cost CUSU so little money that it was worth being a part of. CUSU must now either negotiate affiliation costs back down to £250, or give those students another chance to choose. CUSU claims they were told by the NUS during the campaign costs that the yearly affiliation fee would be £250.

This departure from a previous promise shows that either the NUS is grossly incompetent with their budget, or that they made a promise they knew they couldn’t uphold to try and alter the result of the referendum. What would be good to hear from CUSU is more clarity on what they mean when they say that they “will revisit and debate our affiliation to the NUS.” Complete clarity is needed from Amatey and the rest of CUSU in how they are choosing to resolve this matter. ”

Although it is as yet unknown whether CUSU were aware of this miscalculation before the referendum, the council has the power to remain affiliated, to disaffiliate or let the members vote, in the light of the discussion of External Affiliations in the future.