CUSU was in deficit when their funding request was rejectedSimon Lock

Minutes from meetings with the Council Committee for the supervision of the student unions (CCSSU) have revealed that CUSU requested non-recurrent funding of £100,000 for the refurbishment of the CUSU offices at 17 Mill Lane, in November 2015. The request at the time was rejected by the Committee, partially on grounds that “the space at Mill Lane had been refurbished prior to CUSU moving in”.

The request was presented within a draft of CUSU’s bid for funds, alongside other bids for increases in funding, some of which were later endorsed by the Committee in May 2016.

Minutes from September 2015 show that funds were hoped to stimulate the “development of a student-facing space”, as the new space was bigger “than had previously been available” and lacked “furniture, or furniture of the right type, to make the space comfortable and inviting” for students “on the outskirts of Cambridge who had no obvious base when in town”.

The minutes call the cost evaluation “provisional” and suggest that “detailed work would need to be carried out over the next year to finalise the costs”.

The Committee rejected the initial request because “the costs as set out in the paper were not final and would not be ready in time for the submission deadline” in December 2015, and consequently suggested “the bid should be held over until the following year”.

The bids were also criticised by the Committee for their length, running to “50 pages”, and the Committee recommended “a more succinct final version for submission”.

Other bids for funds were also deemed “unrealistic” by the Committee, “in the context of the financial position of the University, where all departments were being asked to do more within their existing budgets”.

The funding bids had come at a time of financial deficit for CUSU. Accounts from last June show CUSU had run a deficit in 2014/2015, and were £32,454 worse off than they were at the end of the 2013/14 financial year.

Minutes from February 2016 reveal it was “already expected to be a particularly difficult year for new funding bids”, and in May the Committee acknowledged “the difficulties that CUSU faced in trying to balance a tight budget with its aspirations to do more for students”, welcoming that “CUSU Board was making decisions based on CUSU’s strategic priorities.”

“The Committee encouraged CUSU to formulate clear priorities to guide its future aspirations and spending”

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