Rally to be organised against ultra vires laws

YUSU are set to be pressurised by the United Nations Association (UNA) so that societies can work around the current ultra vires charity laws, which restrict society fundraising.

Many societies have complained about their inability to fundraise without being under the banner of RAG.

Chris Jackson, Social Secretary of the UNA, said: “We will present [our findings] to YUSU and if they spit it back at us, we will go round the other societies”. He also said he will send “lots of letters” to YUSU, going on to refuse ruling out the possibility of a large scale protest, such as a march.

Ashley Holding, Chair of Amnesty International, stated his dissatisfaction with the restrictions imposed on fundraising by YUSU, saying that “pretty much every university in the country has managed to put on amazing events and such, with full knowledge of the student unions.”

Under the 2006 ultra vires regulations, YUSU was forced to register as a charity and were prevented from fundraising for causes other than their own. This means that societies can only raise money for charities on behalf of RAG.

Chris Jackson continued, saying that fundraising is one of the UNA’s “five principles” and such rules mean they are unable to do this under their own name.

He added: “It appears our society members in other universities are doing exactly what YUSU says we can’t do and we would like clarification on this issue as it is fundamental to our society’s charters and aims.”

Societies are now looking at ways to work around this rule. Holding stated: “The way that we interpreted it was that we could use our own money or resources to fundraise, as long as we didn’t use any of YUSU’s own funds, which is the way we have always done it.” Jackson stated that the UNA at the London School of Economics “can fundraise for other charities providing no money goes through the union accounts”. He also says UNAs at Sussex and Birmingham raise large amounts for charity.
Rhianna Kinchin, YUSU Student Activities Officer, said that the law prevented these societies from raising money on campus. “YUSU is a registered charity and so are all of the societies that are part of it. It is against the law for us to raise money for another charity.”

She pointed out that only RAG were able to fund raise but it was “their policy that they will only raise for the core charities chosen at the beginning of the year”.

4 comments

  1. 26 Jan ’10 at 3:52 pm

    Ashley Holding

    “Ashley Holding, Chair of Amnesty International, said: “We will present [our findings] to YUSU and if they spit it back at us, we will go round the other societies”. He also said he will send “lots of letters” to YUSU, going on to refuse ruling out the possibility of a large scale protest, such as a march.”

    I would just like to point out that I never said any of this – it is completely fabricated. Well done Nouse – quality journalism.

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  2. Ashley,

    Thank you for your notification. Due to a mix up during production, your name was accidentally put in place of Chris Jackson’s. We apologise for this and have rectified the error above.

    Sam Lawson
    News Editor

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  3. The relevant section from the Charity commission is here.

    Relevant bit:
    “Furthermore, neither a students’ union nor any club or society can make donations to any external organisation or cause, particularly if it is political in nature – unless the organisation or cause has a connection with the welfare of students at the particular university or college. None of this prevents a students’ union fund raising where those funds are passed directly to the intended recipients.”

    The rules are only against using YUSU account funds (by YUSU itself or one the societies), if you did a collection and sent it straight off to amnesty et.c. it should be fine.

    It also doesn’t involve any prohibition on activity. You could hand out leaflets saying ‘vote x’, or fundraise for an MP, you just can’t pay for the material/activity out of society account funds. It’s a mistake to suggest membership in a society means all your actions are taken to be (or can be taken to be) in that capacity.

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  4. Basically don’t touch YUSU money and you’re alright.

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