THE REVELATION THAT the Students’ Union staff Christmas dinner is to be subsidized has ignited controversy as normal York students are made to pay for their Christmas balls.
YUSU will pay a large part of the £18.95 a head bill for Christmas dinner at the Judges Lodgings.
At least six salary-earning sabbatical members of the SU staff are attending the dinner, and the cost will amount to a minimum of £100, and any other paid SU staff are entitled to the subsidy.
This comes at a time when societies and JCRCs have suffered cuts to their finances in the wake of the announcement of the SU’s £30,000 budget cut.
Other bodies suffering cuts include media societies, the Athletics Union, RAG and Student Action.
Many of those affected will be questioning the legitimacy of the SU-funded Christmas celebrations.
Funding for the Christmas dinner is provided for by the YUSU budgets, under “central services”, and is, according to Student Union Services Officer Nat Thwaites-McGowan, “part of the cost of maintaining our contingent of staff”.
YUSU’s website states that “any money we make through shops and events is used to fund societies, student development, or campaigns” and makes no mention of covering social expenses for its staff.
The cost of the meal potentially amounts to a sizeable chunk of most societies’ annual budgets.
Thwaites-McGowan believes the subsidy to be a way of thanking the Student Union staff and said “ I feel that the Christmas Dinner subsidy represents excellent value for money as a way of thanking our staff for their hard work and dedication.”
He added: “The dinner allows us to express our gratitude to our staff, in the limited manner that we can afford, without impacting on our service level.”
While the SU have asked for a five pound contribution towards the cost of the dinner from its staff, students across campus have paid up to £30 for tickets to their colleges’ Christmas events, with the SU offering no subsidies.
Christmas balls organised by the college JCR’s are mainly funded by revenue from students’ tickets, with prices bumped up to provide for a small profit for the JCRCs whose budgets have recently been reduced by the SU.
Society balls such as that of History Soc can cost anything up t0 £50.
By Ellen Carpenter DEPUTY EDITOR