Freshers’ Rep still out of pocket

first_imgWorcester College JCR’s Freshers’ Rep is still waiting to be paid £1395 after he was forced to pay for parts of Freshers’ Week with his own money.There are concerns that students will be put off applying for the position in the future unless they can afford to hand out over a thousand pounds at the start of Michaelmas.Matt Henshaw is waiting for a cheque from £1300 from the college as payment for freshers t-shirts, while last Sunday the college JCR voted to reimburse him by a further £95 for other costs.He would have been £4000 in the red had he not managed to negotiate with the company organising the club nights. He was then allowed to pay for them once he had received money from tickets sold.“The college did say that if I had a full schedule and budget planned out for the week by the end of trinity term they could give me money upfront but this just simply isn’t possible when I don’t take the role until Easter and what with exams that term too,” said Henshaw.Henshaw was keen to stress that he will not be ending up out of pocket, but pointed out, “I think it could potentially put people off the role as even though I know I’ll get it back, being nearly £1400 out of pocket isn’t a comfortable position to be in right now, since I have to pay college battels too.”Jack Hammett, current JCR Vice-President at St Anne’s, who ran the college’s freshers’ week, revealed that he too had to put up some of his own money to pay for it. He was warned about this before applying for the role. “I had to pay several hundred pounds of my own money which was inconvenient at certain times, but was lucky to be quickly reimbursed by the JCR soon after the end of Freshers’ week.”“Much of the freshers’ week entertainment needs to be paid for in advance and it often is the case that the JCR treasurer is unable to pay for these costs during the summer vacation. In submitting a Freshers’ week funding motion at the end of Trinity, it was apparent that some personal funding would need to be made.” David Barclay, former Worcester JCR president, was critical of the college for putting the Freshers’ Rep in a position of financial uncertainty. “Obviously it is unacceptable to ask a Freshers’ Rep to stump up so much of their own money without clear guarantees that they will make it all back. It falls to the college to put its money where its mouth is on equal opportunities and provide a Freshers Budget in order to take away any barriers to people applying for the position. “Freshers Reps should be chosen on the basis of their ability to organise, entertain and welcome, not on the size of their chequebook.”Katharine Terrell, former St Hilda’s JCR president, commented that “Colleges hand over nearly all responsibility for arranging freshers’ week activities to unpaid students who are essentially volunteering their time while doing a full-time degree, while at the same time imposing unreasonable or unrealistic requirements.  We are adults arranging social events at the beginning of our university careers and colleges should liaise with us as such.”“Freshers Reps should be chosen on the basis of their ability to organise, entertain and welcome, not on the size of their chequebook.”Not all students appear particularly concerned about the Freshers’ Rep having to pay out of his own money up front. One first-year History student commented, “I think it would put some people off. But it wouldn’t put me off applying, as long as I knew it was going to get back to me at some point.”Alex Cavell, a Chemist, disagrees. “It probably would put me off applying, because it is not right that students should be out of pocket (even on a temporary basis) for something they are doing voluntarily and for the benefit of others. It would be better if they were given a budget and funds in advance from which to plan and spend for freshers’ week.”Other colleges have found ways around the problem of paying for freshers’ week. Alastair Livesy, Magdalen’s freshers’ rep, said, “We have a really good system – for small amounts I pay out of my own pocket but don’t have any trouble getting the money back – and if there’s a substantial amount we need to pay for, such as putting a deposit behind the bar at a club, we can get a cheque and don’t have to pay out of our own accounts.”Henshaw said that he was arranging a meeting with the college accountant to make sure that the situation does not arise again next year. “While everything has come out okay this time, there is always a possibility that next year a student could end the week losing money, which shouldn’t happen when they’re organising something like freshers’ week.“I find it suprising that the college offers so much money for the Entz and Welfare budget for the term but then nothing to the freshers’ rep who is essentially in charge of an entire week of Entz and Welfare events.”last_img read more