In light of a major funding crisis leading to an end-of-year deficit of £75,888, it has been revealed this evening that CUSU is planning a 3-year transition away from external funding, from publisher St James’ House (SJH), and looking to the University for future funding.
Speaking to the first CUSU Council of Easter Term at 7pm tonight, CUSU President Amatey Doku detailed the executive committee's volatile relationship with this source of funding since 2015, in which a contract with SJH promised £75,246/year. For the past two years, SJH’s failure to publish on schedule and in accordance with CUSU’s financial year has led to severe delays in CUSU receiving revenue, a situation allowed by the loose terms of the contract and referred to by Doku as "slippage".
CUSU is seeking to renegotiate agreements and seek more diverse funding in future to prevent the consequences of its over-reliance manifested in the past two days. Out-going Education Officer Roberta Huldisch, in relation to this, said: “We shouldn’t be in this situation, but we are, and we need to deal with it.”
CUSU currently faces a deficit of £75,888, after facing nearly £200,000 of losses in the past two years, depleting its reserves. A draft budget forecasts £93,555 of reserves remaining at the financial year-end, down from £169,443 at the end of the last finanical year.
In order to recoup some of the deficit generated by the delays in publishing, Doku put forth a 9-point plan, which raised the possibilities of revising the freshers’ fair budget, scaling-down the CUSU website, promoting the sale of NUS Extra cards or raising JCR affiliation fees. This provoked some concern among JCR presidents, with St John’s Academic Affairs and Careers Officer Simon Percelay and Emmanuel JCR President Connor MacDonald questioning how college governance would react to a fee increase. The plan hopes to save approximately £60,000 in total.
Moving forward, Doku expresses hopes to negotiate a funding contract with the University, which would provide restricted funding, if terms are agreed on.