Cardiff SU says students will not get good value for money this year in leaked document

A source says the SU is not prepared for freshers

Cardiff University Students’ Union has made massive cuts to its student services due to “unprecedented levels of financial uncertainty” caused by the pandemic.

In a document leaked to The Cardiff Tab, the SU states that “arguably, the University (and students) will not get good value for money from us this year”. They say they have made over one million pounds of cuts to their expenditure, saying it has been “cut so dramatically we will unable to provide many services to the same level as normal years.”

Spending has been cut to the Athletic Union, Societies, Volunteering, Student Advice, the Skills Development Service and to the Union’s ‘Give it a Go’ Programme.

The Students’ Union is part-funded by a three million pound block grant from the University, which of course derives this funding from student’s tuition fees. A cut to the block grant was expected this year, however, a freeze was negotiated, meaning the full amount will be paid to the SU.

A Students’ Union source told The Cardiff Tab that despite social distancing the Union could have done more for freshers this year, and they will not get a ‘full experience’.

They said the Union has been “too busy fighting its own staff over paycuts” and that staff are “too upset and distracted” to prepare for freshers.

Another member of SU staff told us that “freshers just isn’t happening because the Union is ripping itself apart”.

Around 50 of the Union’s staff have been on the furlough scheme during the summer, meaning they have not been able to prepare for freshers. For example, Coordinators in the Activities team, who would normally spend three months preparing for freshers events, only partially returned to work at the end of August.

An SU source said: “Fairs aren’t happening in the same way, they’ll be micro-fairs which will engage with a fraction of the number of students as normal. There is no night-time entertainment for students and there’s virtually no socially distanced welcome/Give it a Go activity organised by the SU. I think it’s going to be a sad and lonely welcome. If the Union had had its priorities in the right place it might have made a better go of it.”

A Students’ Union spokesperson said: “The nightclub traditionally brings in the majority of the Students’ Union income, this income contributes to the running of our other student services and facilities. It is still very uncertain when this activity will resume and when the Students’ Union will be back to operating as normal. The Students’ Union is doing everything possible to protect and enhance the student experience during these uncertain times.”

SU President Tomos Evans said: “We know that the student experience will look very different this year but protecting staff and students from Covid-19 is the priority. I want to thank our staff for responding to the challenge of changing our operations to meet the new government regulations, and to students for understanding we will do the best to still enhance the student experience in any way we can.”

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