August 8, 2006

Clubsfest User Fee

(— Clubsfest is the one day that student groups are given to recruit during the McMaster Orientation. —)
The MSU Inc is charging all student clubs a $15 user fee if they participate in Clubsfest. The MSU Inc. is claiming that this is so that Clubsfest is a break-even event as the MSU Inc. runs it as a revenue neutral event and since the clubs are advertising themselves and not the MSU; the clubs should be picking up the tab for the event.
I am very strongly opposed to taking this money from clubs for putting up a table at an event that should be free for clubs. This is not a commerical convention we are talking about, this is a day for new (and returning) students to connect to student clubs to enhance their McMaster experience.
This works out to 20% of the MSU funding for most clubs. Most clubs (if they get any money) only receive the standard $75 in clubs funding from the MSU.
I have checked around and no other student union that I know of charges its clubs to be involved in Welcome Week activities.
This is frustrating to see the MSU Inc continue to treat student clubs like this. Every year, we here the same promises from the MSU types – more funding for clubs. Every year, clubs funding is never increased and new fees are charged against clubs.
If the MSU is so short of money, I have a few suggestions on what to cut:
The Executive (Board of Directors) took a weekend retreat to Niagara Falls in May all paid with MSU money. (Yes, instead of taking corporate gifts to go have a good time, they are spending our money instead)
The Executive Board took a harbour cruise on the Hamilton waterfront as a retreat. Again at MSU expense. The Executive also paid to rent a meeting room on the Hamilton waterfront for the nine of them to have their meeting. This instead of having the meeting for free in the MSU office.
The MSU spent almost $20,000 on the MSU weekend retreat to Haliburton.
The MSU has spent tens of thousands of dollars on new computers and furniture this summer.
The last year that financial statements are available for say Quarters lost $200,000 in one year.
The MSU is paying a lot of money to fund the Hamilton Police officers patrolling Westdale looking for student “nuisance offenses” this year. The MSU refuses to release the amount of money they are spending on this but based on what the police have said about this contract, it appears the MSU is spending in the $25,000 – $30,000 dollars range towards the crackdown. Since I cannot get the MSU to say how much they are spending, I have filed a Freedom of Information Request with the Hamilton Police Service to get a copy of the contract and how much of our money is being spent on this.
Cut the 15% discount that the MSU Executive takes on all their non-alcohol purchases in Quarters.
Cut their free coffee and tea in Union Market.
Cut their 10% discount on purchases in Union Market.
Cut their 50% off copying in Design and Copy.
And the list goes on….
In short, the MSU does not need to be charging student groups user fees to run clubsfest. They just need to redo their spending priorities.