Referendum RFP06/1- Student Levy Guide

Referendum RFP06/1- Student Levy Guide

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In 22nd February 2006, you will be asked to vote in two Students’ Union referenda. These are numbered RFP06/1 (Student Levy) and RFC06/1 (Structures). This guide seeks to explain the RFP06/1 (Student Levy) only. Further additional documentation fully explains the other referendum, RFC06/1 (Structures).

NUI Galway Students’ Union asks that you read this information carefully and inform yourself fully of both sides of the argument in advance of the referendum. The full motion text is available here.

1. General information

This referendum seeks to increase the Student Levy (currently €68) by €40 from September 2006.

A “yes” vote would mean a €40 increase in the Student Levy from September 2006, in addition to the normal inflationary increase (approximately €7) – a total levy of €115. The additional proceeds would be divided out as explained below.

A “no” vote would mean that there would only be an approximate €7 inflationary increase in the Student Levy from September 2006 – a total levy of €75.

A quorum of 5% of Union members (approx. 700 students) is required to make the vote valid.

Polling takes place on Wednesday 22nd February 2006 in Áras na Mac Léinn from 10:00-20:00. You require your NUI Galway student ID card to vote.

2. Who decides how the Students’ Union funding will be distributed?

20% of the proposed increase (approximately €26,000) will be automatically allocated to Seirbhisi … Teo., the Union’s publications company, to support the Union’s publications (see point 5 below for further details). This will not mean an end to commercial advertising in the Union’s Diary and/or the Sin newspaper, but rather additional funding support. The company struggles to make ends meet each year; this increase would mean the Union would have to provide less direct support to the company, freeing up more time and funding to be spent on educational and welfare matters.

A further 20% will be allocated to the Union’s alcohol-free entertainment budget. The hugely successful Tuesday Nights Ents programme was only possible because of a significant grant from the Student Projects Fund. However, this grant funding was limited to three years and will expire in May. Alcohol-free entertainment is an uncertain business. As a result, the Union will require a significant budget each year in order to cater for the entertainment needs of those who do not participate in the events held in the College Bar, either due to personal preference or the law (e.g. under 18’s).

The remaining 60% will be added to the Union’s representational budget, i.e. education, welfare, equality, etc. Each year, the Union struggles to balance its books due to a severe lack of funding. In addition to this, referendum RFC06/1 (Structures) seeks to make significant changes to the structure and operations of the Union and will require additional funding to allow the Union to expand and grow in the future. The planned expansion includes the appointment of researchers and further administrative/secretarial staff.

These referenda are exclusive of each other, so in the event that (the other) referendum RFC06/1 (Structures) does not pass, the increased funding raised by this proposed levy increase will continue to be invested in the representational activities of the Union.

3. Who decides how the clubs and societies funding will be distributed?

In the case of the clubs, the Sport and Recreation Union (formerly known as the Athletic Union) will decide how the funding should be distributed. The Students’ Union Executive Committee will have no role in this.

In the case of the societies, the University Societies Committee will decide how the funding should be distributed. The Students’ Union Executive Committee will have no role in this.

Who decides how the Student Health Unit funding will be distributed?
The Board of Directors of ASML (see point 5 for further details) will decide how the money allocated to Student Health Unit will be distributed. It will all be spent on supporting current services and providing additional new services. The Students’ Union President is a member of this Board and will be involved in the proper allocation of the funding.

4. Why are two companies named in the motion?

There are two companies referred to in the motion text: Seirbhisi Comhaltas na MacLeinn, Ollscoil na Gaillimhe Teoranta (“Seirbhisi”) and CCG Aonad Slainte do Mhic Leinn Teoranta (“ASML”).

ASML is the company which runs the Student Health Unit. It is a distinct separate entity from the University and the Students’ Union, although its members and Board of Directors are made up of University staff and the Students’ Union President.

Seirbhisi is the company which is responsible for the production of Students’ Union diary, wall planner, the Sin newspaper and the Sin website. It is a separate legal entity from the Students’ Union, but is held in trust for the Union and produces only Union-related material.

For legal reasons, the direct beneficiaries must be named, hence the full company titles in each case.

5. Why is “dissolution” mentioned?

There is a chance that ASML will be absorbed into the University in the near future and that Seirbhisi will be merged with the Students’ Union. If either of these events happens, the motion text means that there would not be a need for a further referendum to re-direct the proceeds of the levy, but rather that the Executive Committee could (only) re-direct it to the new health unit or publications department(s).

6. How much money is involved?

The proceeds from the 2005/06 levy were divided as follows (figures are approximate due to rounding): Euro (2005/06)
Per head Total
Sports clubs 7 90,300
Societies 7 90,300
Students’ Union 7 90,300
USI 5 64,500
Áras na Mac Léinn 15 193,500
Student Health Unit 6 77,400
Flirt FM 4 51,600
Student Projects Fund 17 219,300
Total 68 877,200
Contributing students 12,900

In addition to the allocation from the levy, sports clubs, societies and the Union receive grants from the non-tuition charge, totalling €86,000, €63,133 and €6,079 respectively in 2004/05 (2005/06 figures have not been confirmed yet).

If the proposed €40 increase is approved, the budgets of the sports clubs, societies, Students’ Union and Student Health Unit would each increase by approximately €130,000 for the year 2006/07.

7. Other related information

The Union and the University have agreed that the €100 increase approved by referendum in November 2003 for the construction of the new sports and societies’ centres will now start in September 2007 and not, as previously agreed, in 2006.

8. When will payment of this levy end?

The levy will continue to be paid until a referendum of the members of the Students’ Union votes to alter the terms of the levy.

9. Further information

Further information on the referendum is available from the Students’ Union offices or from the Students’ Union President – su.president@nuigalway.ie

10. Where and when does polling take place?

Polling will take place from 10:00-20:00 on Wednesday 22nd February 2006 in Áras na Mac Léinn.

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Motion RFP06/1

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