USSU are facing the wrath of the university cuts which could have a serious impact on the facilities that the student union provide for students. The student union is funded by an annual grant from the University of £700,000 and also partly from various facilities such as the campus shops and East Slope and Falmer bar. However, the union is now facing a 5% cut to this annual grant amount each year for the next 3 years. This means that by 2013, the union will have lost an average of around £100,000 which is used to fund facilities such as equipment for sport and various other societies that many students are involved in.
Tom Wills, the President of the Student Union has said; ‘This will have a serious impact, and it is unfair for students to pay the price.’ It appears that the union will be at the forefront of this struggle all the while the proposed union cuts are in place. It is also clear to see that there is no position for this decision to take place without a serious impact, and the union President continued to say that he and others would be ‘defending the student union to save student interest.’ But, as the union is run by independently by students as a democratic system, and it can be seen that the university is interfering with the union when they are in fact separate and shouldn’t have anything to do with the union at all, including with issues involving budget.
However, the University has said that they are working with the Student Union to address the financial problems they face, and in regards to the budget the Student Union receives, the University has said; ‘The Union’s spending each year has been reliant on making at least £100k surplus on their trading activities – shops, cafes and bars. In recent years, this has not been achieved. Indeed, last year they made a loss in trading…this places the Union in a very precarious financial position if it continues undealt with.’ Therefore, it appears the Union needs to deal with this problem of loss in trading to address the budget issue in hand.
They continued; ‘USSU is important but is only a part of ensuring we provide a good student experience at Sussex. The University spends millions of pounds each year on a wide range of student services and in providing facilities for students.’ Aswell as the Student Union, other facilities at the University need to be dealt with in order to provide the best facilities for all students. ‘Getting that major University spending right and ensuring we meet the needs of students will be an important focus for the University.’
Published 17th May 2010