By Ivo Dimitrov
Who doesn’t love the annual budget General Assembly (GA)? The last gathering of the UCSA reminded us how “quickly” time flies when there is voting, budgets, and wine involved. Students might recall spending five hours of bliss in the Auditorium. As time passed and empty bottles lined up, a heated discussion arose among different committees and the UCSA Board. Not all tensions seemed resolved with the end of the GA, which prompted the Boomerang to investigate the ever-controversial budgeting issue.
SportsCo was one of the most vocal committees, especially regarding the budget for the newly-formed female football team. The UCSA policy to only sponsor sports teams that officially represent UCU in competitions resulted in the team not receiving funding. “I understand the policy. Our reason for bringing this up at the GA was ExtremeCo, which doesn’t do anything to promote UCU and still gets quite a lot of money,” Head of the female team, Tessa van Rens, said. “I still believe female football serves a big purpose on campus and thus should be funded.” The team’s disappointment is obvious, but Tessa feels she has sorted everything out with the UCSA and accepts their decision.
But how does such understanding attitude correspond with the bitter accusations and heated exchanges from the GA? UCSA Treasurer Nina de Gruijter feels that this behavior is normal. “Committees are satisfied with their budgets, but once they see what other committees receive, they suddenly do not agree anymore, which is a pity. At the same time, it is important that these issues are brought up. Otherwise their frustrations would just bottle up.” She also stresses that she stands behind the budget, but is always prepared to talk about it and look for solutions.
It might seem that conflicts are settled, but the sour taste from the GA is apparent when committees discuss their frustrations. For example, the MarathonCo Board still senses certain unfairness towards Sports committees. “We are a student association, not College Hall. It’s strange that academics are seen as more important within the UCSA. People should not get more money for MUN than for doing sports,” Treasurer Wouter den Hollander said.
The MUNCo Board on the other hand, stresses the fact that MUNCo is giving everyone an equal chance to participate in MUNs. “Although it’s expensive, it benefits students in many ways and gives them many valuable skills,” Treasurer Joost Meulendijks said.
Perhaps, committees with big budgets will always spark controversy during GAs and cause minor frustrations and divided opinions. Naturally also, boards will use the opportunities to have their voices heard. But then again, aren’t we making a lot of fuss about nothing? Little has changed a month after the heated GA discussions. All we have left are hazy memories of a Monday night that went on way too long.