Over 800 students have signed a petition in opposition to LUSU's planned cuts to college and recreational sport. Having reached the threshold of 150 signatures, the matter will now be debated by LUSU's Executive Committee.
On Monday, LUSU announced that college sports support would be cut, and that the Active Lancaster recreational sports scheme would be scrapped. As Spineless pointed out, the cuts (thought to be about £45,000) are negligible to LUSU's over £8 million annual budget, and over £1 million of reserves, and don't appear to be financially necessary.
In a Facebook post yesterday, the Activities sabb Victoria Hatch (the only sabb who hasn't broken LUSU's financial transparency policy) said: 'it was not a case of 'cutting' recreational sport, instead the funds ran out and we were not able to secure funding to extend it from the University or from the Students’ Union.'
The 'Save College And Rec Sport' petition was written by Imogen Fawcett, Pendle JCR's Sports Officer. The petition runs to over 1,000 words, and presents a comprehensive argument for why the sports leagues which LUSU plans to scrap should be kept. The petition also rails against the undemocratic nature of LUSU's decision-making process: 'This decision has been taken without first consulting the colleges and societies affected and without ensuring there is a plan to replace these provisions.'
Crucially, the petition makes the argument that the cuts aren't financially necessary: 'The netball and football (college and recreational) leagues are predominantly self-funded. Whilst the netball court and football pitch hire costs are subsidised by the Students’ Union for matches, every team pays to cover the costs of the league administration and game officials. Each team or club also funds its own training costs and additional facility hire, as well as organising equipment, kit and social events for all members. As such, the financial burden on the University and the Student’s Union in continuing to facilitate these grassroots leagues is not especially significant or unsustainable when compared to the contributions also made by the players and teams themselves.'
The only LUSU petition to get more signatures than this one was the 'Save Our Sugarhouse' petition (over 1,200 signatories), which was ultimately successful in forcing LUSU to abandon its plans to sell off the Sugarhouse nightclub. Yet again, students are at war with 'their' students' union, as the LUSU establishment seeks to impose arbitrary decisions on them, without even the pretense of democracy.