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USU finances ‘on track’ to break even in 2017: AGM

Alexandros Tsathas reports

Uncontroversial is the best way to describe Tuesday morning’s Annual General Meeting of the University of Sydney Union (USU).

Just 71 of the Union’s 16,000 members attended the meeting, which saw the organisation post a $773,000 loss and pass a raft of unremarkable constitutional changes.

The result for the 2014-15 financial year, though still a deficit, represents an improvement on the Union’s 2013-14 loss of $1.9 million. USU Honorary Treasurer Ed McMahon attributed the improved result to the Board “aggressively increasing sponsorship” and “the flow-on effect of investment in previous years, namely in HostCo and outlets like Abercrombie Terrace and Courtyard Café”.

He announced in his report the USU was “on track” to break even next year, helped by the steady growth of HostCo and changes to the way departments handle their budgets.

All proposed constitutional changes were voted up, with the purpose of most of these being to straighten out administrative anomalies.

The constitutional changes will also see USU life-membership rebirthed, and Board Directors’ pay will now be set by a specialist committee.

A single dissident, Director Kate Bullen, opposed the proposal to restrict eligibility for Board nomination to students, University staff and life members. She pushed for even tighter restrictions, wanting Directors to be students only, but was unsuccessful in convincing other members.

Outgoing USU President Alisha-Aitken Radburn said “the constitutional changes we’ve made parallel where this Board wants to see the USU move in the future”.

The AGM marks the beginning of the end of the current executive’s tenure. Next year’s executive is to be elected at a meeting on Wednesday night, at 6pm in the Holme Room.

This is expected to be a show trial, as Honi understands all positions have already been arranged behind closed doors. The expected result is: Michael Rees (Independent) as President, Atia Rahim (Student Unity) as Vice-President, Tiffany Alexander (Labor) as Treasurer and Shannen Potter (SLS) as Honorary Secretary.