May 31, 2006

Student Union support for AUT could have interesting consequences.

An interesting thought's just occurred to me while I prepare tomorrow's RaW News: Insight on the lecturers' strike.

The AUT are calling for the income from top–up fees to be spent on student facilities, and not on non–academic capital projects, which they see as non–essential. Every increase in offer that's made to the AUT means fewer of these projects can go ahead.

The Students Union is supporting this stand.

But what is the biggest capital project on the University's financial horizon that could expect to be hit by this decrease in funding?

That's right, the Union South Rebuild. I wonder if this has occurred to the Union yet???


- 14 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. The university has plenty of money which doesn't come from student fees.

    31 May 2006, 16:30

  2. Plenty of spare money?

    31 May 2006, 16:41

  3. It doesn't have much spare money from any source.

    31 May 2006, 17:06

  4. Okay, but the 28% of top–up fees income has been earmarked for 'capital projects and student services'. The more that income's squeezed, the less is going to be available for things just like the Union South rebuild.

    I doubt the Union have thought that their stance is having this effect.

    31 May 2006, 18:03

  5. Leaving aside the fact that there's no way the Union South rebuild is the university's biggest capital project under discussion, it wouldn't be possible to pay for it from fee income alone anyway.

    31 May 2006, 18:32

  6. Perhaps, but are you seriously suggesting that it's not going to have some effect on how much the University gives towards the rebuild?

    31 May 2006, 18:42

  7. I shouldn't think it'll make much difference one way or the other.

    31 May 2006, 20:08

  8. Leaving aside the fact that there's no way the Union South rebuild is the university's biggest capital project under discussion, it wouldn't be possible to pay for it from fee income alone anyway.

    Perhaps not, but it may well be the biggest non-academic CAPEX planned. The union is lobbying for it's own project to be sidelined. Marvellous.

    31 May 2006, 22:45

  9. student@warwick

    Perhaps not, but it may well be the biggest non–academic CAPEX planned. The union is lobbying for it's ow project to be sidelined. Marvellous.

    But there's more; the obvious long–term outcome of this whole mockery–of–a–sham of a pay negotiation is that the calls for top–up fees to be increased will grow louder as unis feel the pinch. Without such increases student services (inc. bursaries) will be squeezed, or academic capital projects will be squeezed, or lecturers pay will be squeezed. But wait! we can square the circle merely by adding another £1,000 per annum to the maximum charge being levied against home students. Or maybe £2000. Or maybe £3000…

    In effect it's entirely possible to argue that the SU – in supporting the AUT's (possbily) unreasonable demands – is in fact supporting higher top–up fees. Whahay!

    31 May 2006, 23:07

  10. The fees one had occurred to me, the rebuild hadn't. Good one Chris.

    Having now read the proposed policy, I very much doubt that it will be passed without major amendments; it's still placing the blame for the current situation squarely on the universities and denying that the AUT could possibly be at fault. I don't agree with several of the "believes" clauses and I'm pretty certain that a lot of other people at the EGM won't either.

    02 Jun 2006, 00:24

  11. When Adam put the question to Brian Duggan on last night's Insight, he did seem to be put off guard. Adam had to amplify Brian's answer because he was noticeably quieter!

    02 Jun 2006, 07:37

  12. The potential for a problem along those lines had been noticed by people within the Union some time ago. I've no idea whether there would actually be a problem.

    02 Jun 2006, 18:02

  13. I've no idea whether there would actually be a problem.

    Frankly, I don't believe that the views of the students' union are particularly important to the university in trying to resolve this action, so the support or lack of it is likely to be pretty well irrelevant, like most students' union politics.

    02 Jun 2006, 21:26

  14. I'd be inclined to think that the university would probably prefer to spend £10m, or whatever the projected figure is, on a new SU building rather than on payrises. No, the opinions of the SU or of individual students aren't likely to have much impact – I can't imagine the VC taking any more notice of an AUT protest just because a few students happened to tag along with it – it's more a matter of principle. I disagree, though, that "most students' union politics" is irrelevant; that claim has been made previously on other blogs, and I'll mention the same thing now that I did then: although there are some wonderful examples of the Union taking a stance in an area in which it has absolutely no influence – policy 468, "This Union will inform students about the possible dangers of GATS and take appropriate action", is a great one – of the 94 policies currently listed on the Union website, at least 67, by my judgement, have an undeniable significant effect on Warwick students, and most of the rest have at least some effect, so the total proportion of so–called "irrelevant" policies is probably no more than 10% or so of the total.

    02 Jun 2006, 23:30


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