Future of TCS set to be debated at CUSU Council

Stevie Hertz 28 April 2016

The proposed CUSU 2016/17 Budget was published last tonight, further cementing plans to cut The Cambridge Student’s budget, stopping regular print editions. The proposed budget, which is set to be debated at CUSU Council on 2 May, reveals that CUSU faces significant shortfalls in the coming year. This difference is set to be made up by removing the role of CUSU Coordinator and slashing TCS’s Budget.

It states that CUSU is set to make losses of £11,000 in 2016/15, following losses of £6,000 in 2015/14. It also estimates that CUSU’s financial situation will be worsened by falling advertising incomes and rising staff costs, with the creation of the role of Disabled Students’ Officer earlier this year.

However, a motion has been filed to force the publication of alternative budget solutions including raising affiliation fees, reducing the size of the staff or sabbatical teams and making use of CUSU’s reserves. This motion will be debated on Monday, alongside the rest of the budget.

CUSU Council is made up of representatives of each affiliated college, however any student may attend or propose a motion.

While the budget states that TCS made a loss of £273 in 2015/14 and is predicted to make a loss of £12,400 in 2016/15, under its current constitution the TCS editorial team cannot procure advertising.

Commenting on this, incoming Editor-In-Chief of TCS, Amelia Oakley said “The TCS Editorial team does not have control of the business side of TCS. Over the past year of TCS we have undergone a full redesign of our print edition and have time and time again produced high quality content.”

Following discussions of proposed cuts, the TCS Editorial team asked the CUSU Board of Trustees to defer the decision for a year in which time the TCS editorial team would take over the responsibility for reducing costs and increasing revenue.

However, the Budget Briefing document stated that this proposal had been rejected, saying “demonstrating CUSU’s financial competence to members and the University was of utmost importance.”

This budget shortfall comes after Varsity reported earlier this year that CUSU was in “crisis”, following the cancellation of a contract with an external contractor.

Coverage of the potential cuts to TCS have received widespread attention, including coverage in The Independent and the support of around 60 individuals through an open letter, including a former CUSU President and current MP, Wes Streeting. The letter states that TCS is “vital” and has earned its place “as one of the great Cambridge student institutions.”