A variety of sources have expressed concerns regarding the YUSU grants used to fund societies at The University. The same budget of “around £40 000 for approximately 200 groups” being available year upon year, despite increases in the number of ratified societies and the number of students being admitted to the University of York to participate in them, the requested budget from all societies amounting to roughly £200 000.
A common complaint about the lack of clarity surrounding the rules of YUSU grant applications centres on the budget limit of £30 for Press and Publicity. DougSoc (Douglas Adams Society) reported having not being told of this before applying for funds; this lead to their request being rejected and the necessity to reapply. VegSoc (Vegetarian and Vegan Society) also had their grant proposal dismissed as a result of not having spent their budget from the previous year – something their President thought to be irrelevant as the money was left unspent by the previous year’s committee.
Others, however, have seen an increase in funds. The volunteering project Sexpression’s treasurer cited their additional £49.90, but also said that the money had already been spent on educational materials and that they were finding it increasingly difficult to source outside donations and sponsors, the traditional route of gaining extra money.
When asked for comment, Activities Officer Mikey Collinson maintained the funding process was as fair as possible due to the responsibility of allocation resting on the shoulders of the Societies Committee, made up of representatives from all kinds of societies.
He elaborated: “There is often very high demand for YUSU grants and to say that this is purely down to new societies being ratified is a little simplistic. “For the main societies grant that was allocated last term, societies requested a total of approx £200 000 and Societies Committee had £41 500 to allocate. It is always tough to decide where these funds should be allocated, therefore to make the process as fair as possible funds are allocated by Societies Committee which is made up of representatives from each society category and elected by societies at the term three open meeting.
“In response to feedback, we have been working hard on a new financial plan to ensure that societies can be funded throughout the year, rather than just at the start of term, which societies will be able to apply for soon. If a society really needs funds, I would encourage them to come and chat with us.”