CUSU General Manager quits in less than a year

James Burton - News Editor 1 October 2009

CUSU has appointed a Union Development Manager to replace Paul England, previously General Manager, who handed in his notice over the long vacation, after less than a year with the union.

The Cambridge Student understands that Mr England, whose responsibilities included managing the Student Union’s finances, has been offered a job with Unison, and left his position with the student union on Friday August 14th.

Mark Fletcher, last year’s President, told TCS that the general manager had been “fantastic to work with and very committed”, whilst Mr England himself added that he had enjoyed being part of an “organisation with a bright future.”

In a statement sent to TCS, he said: “I have been lucky enough to work with two teams of talented sabbatical officers and volunteers at CUSU – whose commitment to improving students’ lives and representing their interests has been inspirational.

“I have been working with the sabbatical team in recent weeks, while they take this opportunity to review the focus of the role to ensure that it meets future needs.”

Nevertheless, Mr England’s departure comes at the end of what one previous member of the Executive (Exec) described as “a very challenging year for CUSU.” He went on to say that “CUSU does not suffer from staffing problems, but from the wider problem of stagnation within the university, and a failure on the part of senior management to see what we do as something that is important for Cambridge as a whole.

“Financially, we have also faced difficulties following the split with Simon Burdus and Big Fish Ents, which has not made the general manager’s job an easy one.” Nevertheless, the source insisted that “Paul did a very good job”.

An email sent to TCS from Clare Tyson, CUSU Coordinator, suggested before the appointment that the new Exec was looking into the possibility of “adjusting the focus of the General Manager’s role to prioritise the union development aspects, which may result in a renaming of the position as Union Development Manager.”

Previous Education Officer Ant Bagshaw says he feels this shows the “the new Exec have learnt from Paul’s time with us.” He believes that renaming the post will “reflect the fact that CUSU is a smaller business than other unions.”

New President Tom Chigbo said: “I am really looking forward to working with our new CUSU Union Development Manager to improve the services we provide for students. The new team has decided to place a greater focus on campaigns and student engagement this year, and the Union Development Manager will play a key role in this.”

James Burton – News Editor