The T-shirt Everybody Wants

Do all committees receive equal treatment for UCSA funding? 

by Elena Butti

Towards the end of the last GA, second year Noam Auerbach, pointed out that BarCo Chiefs get new T-shirts sponsored by the UCSA every year, while in other committees only board members can get shirts. The discussion became fervent, but was soon stopped by UCSA Chair Romain Bruyère, who invited Noam to discuss the issue in private. To understand what the issue is all about, The Boomerang talked to the parties involved.

“The issue is that committees cannot be treated unequally by the UCSA Board,” Auerbach said. “In some cases the policy of the current Board violates this principle, which results in unequal treatment. For example, if FootballCo buys bibs they remain property of the committee and not of the individuals. This does not happen in the case of BarCo Chiefs, who can keep their T-shirts, since their name is labeled on them.”

What exactly is the current UCSA policy?

“When they hand in a budget at the beginning of the year, committees can ask for T-shirts for their board members,” UCSA CAO Stéphanie Heckman said. ”This is discussed and negotiated with their CAO. Some committees need to be visible, for example MarathonCo is running in town, we want to get our name out there so they get T-shirts. LawCo doesn’t need to be visible so they wouldn’t get them. The UCSA sponsors half the price, up to 10 euros per T-shirt.”

Why do BarCo chiefs get shirts?

“There are exceptions: some committees need to be treated differently because they perform different tasks,” UCSA CAO Nathalie van Haaren said. “Chiefs are not board members but need T-shirts. So the UCSA fully sponsors chiefs’ T-shirts. Teams organizing events at which they need to be visible, for example the Unity Week Team or the Beach Party Team, also get them. The Yearbook Team doesn’t. It needs to make sense.”

Why exactly do Chiefs need T-shirts?

“The thing is that we work in those T-shirts,” BarCo Chair Emma Rülcker said. “According to Dutch law, bartenders must wear something which makes them recognisable. T-shirts are just the most convenient option.”

What about the names? Do they need to be printed on the T-shirts, making it impossible to re-use them?

“The shirts do need to be personal,” BarCo Treasurer Jan van Deursen said. “It would be quite impractical to call ‘Chieeeef!’ and having six people turning to you at the same time.”

Why do you need to get new T-shirts every year?

“Shirts get very dirty, most Chiefs need to wash them after every shift,” former BarCo member Thomas Grevel said. “Even if they are of good quality, by the end of the year they become unusable.”

So the problem is that BarCo chiefs get personal shirts for free, while boards of other committee’s only get a partial refund under the condition that they’re need them. How is the UCSA board going to solve this?

“In a private meeting with Noam we proposed to write an annex clarifying our policy,” Heckman said. “This means that the UCSA board does research on, for example refunds, and then writes down its policy to ensure consistency. Just like we only allow posters to be printed at Xerox on the Uithof because it’s the cheapest, we decided that €10 was a reasonable amount for T-shirts.”

Doesn’t that give the UCSA board arbitrary power?

“These policies appear in the budget which needs to be approved by the GA. People can ask questions about that,” Heckman said. “There are different categories of rules. An annex is just the decisions of individual UCSA board members written down.  A change in the policy manual needs to be approved by the GA. A change in the statutes is very expensive because we need a notary for that. They are untouchable, like a constitution.”

“You should ask yourself if we really want to spend half our budget to get T-shirts,” van Haaren concluded. “We could do this if the GA approves.”

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