Here’s what we could spend £18K on, instead of a Sabbatical officer salary
Microwaves in the library to start with
You may be unaware of what the Sabbatical officers do, or even unaware they existed. After all only 18% of students voted in the last election followed by a slight rise to just over a quarter of students voting this year, so most people don’t really care.
Regardless, each officer is paid roughly £18,000 a year. That’s a total of £108,000 a year for all six officers- paid for by the SU (which is entirely funded by the University).
Whilst this wouldn’t be much to pay for the improvements they proposed they would make to the university and student experience many of their campaign promises remain unfulfilled. If they don’t deliver on promises and don’t represent students what exactly are we paying for?
Whilst strong campaigns equate to victory without actually action on promises what is the point of having Student Union elections?
Here are some ways those salaries could be better spent:
Paper Cups in the Library
Give us our cups back. Since when did I have to bring a mug to the library to have a cup of tea? President of NUSU , Jack Taylor wrote in his manifesto that he wanted to give us free tea and coffee in exam season and Rachel Kitching, the equality and welfare sabb, wanted to give us refillable hot drinks. Since their election Robbo Coffee breaks have worsened with no disposable cups on offer. Just one officers salary could afford us 112,500 cups with a lid, napkin and sugar. Want to have free coffee? 75,000 disposable cups of coffee with sugar will cost you just one sabb salary.
Microwaves in the Robbo
Basically all we want. In Jack Taylor’s manifesto he promised to introduce microwaves to the library . This is currently looking unlikely after questions over how to keep them cleanly. Just FYI a Russell Hobbs microwave retails at around £50. An average cleaners salary is £7.18 an hour. Three microwaves in the Robbo and three in the Marj, cleaned for an hour a day, seven days a week, 50 weeks a year (excessive really) could be installed and cleaned for roughly 15% of one Saab officers wage. Bargain.
How is it that paying £9,000 a year entitles the library to stock only 3 copies of a £50 book your lecturer just told all 250 students in your biomed lecture they needed to read. Or that Blackwells thinks £12 is a reasonable price to charge for the 50 page play you have to read for your literature module? At £9,000 we should really be provided with all the resources we need but until then cutting sabbatical officers salaries could at least subsidise this.
Supporting students should be a priority. Saab officer salaries could give 54 students grants of £1500 to assist with their education. As it gets harder and harder for students to afford to live whilst at university this could make a big impact. Many Sabbatical officers promise to improve student welfare and make sure that people don’t struggle financially- whilst this is all good to say wiothout action it is pretty pointless saying it. Give up the salary and support our students effectively.
Newspapers in the Library
A genuine suggestion that could go along way. We’re university students and we’re a world top 1% university. Why can’t they provide us with free newspapers? Instead we have to pay for them. The price of a sabbatical officer could provide all the papers we want throughout our academic year.
A hell of a lot more stuff
Getting rid of the Sabbs could afford us over 450 Glastonbury tickets , 120 nights in The Ritz’ most expensive room or 54,000 pints at Osbourne’s on a Tuesday. Okay so this isn’t a reasonable way to spend uni money but it proves that a lot is invested in Sabb officers and they fail to deliver on the investment we contribute to.
Basically Sabbs step it up and prove you’re worth the amount of money you earn and you’re not treating the year like an excuse to stay on at uni. When people have elected you based on campaign promises you should feel responsible to deliver them .