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USU scraps new society funding model after backlash

Alexandros Tsathas reports

The 10-events-per-semester funding policy introduced by the University of Sydney Union (USU) in January has been repealed at the organisation’s April Board meeting on Friday.

Under the policy, Clubs and Societies (C&S) were only subsidised for the first 10 free events held each semester. An attendance fee was required for additional events, or else USU funding could not be claimed.

C&S can now claim their $4,000 subsidy cap across as many events as they see fit.

The repeal was triggered by a USU survey of 71 C&S, 70 of whom returned negative responses.

Speaking after the meeting, USU Honorary Secretary Shannen Potter said the policy “appeared to cause difficulties for clubs rather than helping them”.

The policy drew criticism when it was introduced due its implications for C&S hosting weekly events, like barbeques and drinks. It was justified at the time as a way to “encourage clubs to budget and plan events more strategically by not relying on C&S funding for every event… [providing] executives with stronger evens planning and management skills”.

Sydney University Pop Culture and Games Society (SUTEKH) President Brendan O’Shea welcomed the reversion.

“I’m glad to hear that the regulations on events funding have been scrapped. Charging for events, especially small socials, presents an obstacle to members and non-members alike. I appreciate the effort made by the board directors to listen to student outcry – it shows that the USU can be held accountable.”

Potter told Honi that despite the policy’s demise, “the USU is still very interested in continuing to support C&S in executive skill development”.