While the position of VP: Post-Grad was given the seal of approval by the current Executive team, the Union Affairs Committee and the Board of Trustees, the position is to be axed before it even has the chance of seeing it through the upcoming exec election for its first year in post. The reason it got axed, is a troubling one.
As a £10m a year organisation it may seem strange that the Union requested that the University provide an additional £35,000 in funding specifically for the position. Pretty good salary for a sabbatical? The VP: Post Grad would receive just over £17,000, in line with the rest of the executive, and the remainder of the money requested was for additional budget for the post-grad position.
This money is in addition to over £1 million of grant money already given to LSU by Loughborough University.
In a comment to Label Max Crawford, VP: Union Affairs describes VP Post Grad position as “something that we’ve worked so hard to introduce but unfortunately, because we are not able to fund the position, the decision lies with the university”.
Now while I agree with Max that the position has a solid case for it, I fundamentally disagree with Max that it is the University’s decision to fund it or not that determines if the position should exist. If the Union believes strongly enough that the position of Vice President Post-Graduate would have been beneficial to the students of Loughborough it should stomp up the money itself rather than simply relying on the University for additional funding. This position is an executive position of Loughborough Students’ Union after all!
Like any organisation balancing budgets it should do this either by raising more money, perhaps diversifying away from revenue from nights and alcohol, or by cutting spending elsewhere.
The Executive team are currently working on plans to better communicate how money spent in and raised by LSU is used. I have no doubt that eagle eyed or entrepreneurial students will provide incredibly helpful feedback on ways that LSU can achieve more.
The University actually commended the business case in an operations committee. For anyone to describe the University as a stumbling block for VP: Post Grad is short-sighted. The University’s budgets run at a different pace to those at LSU and as such they suggested that another case may be made for the 2016/17 year.
I commend the work of the LSU Executive in building the case for the role of VP: Post Grad and challenge budget setters in LSU to fund the position. If the position is the success we all believe it should be, this will be further ammunition for the case of split funding with the University in future years.