St Cross College’s Common Room Committee (CRC) has
decided to affiliate to OUSU from Michaelmas Term 2004, after the
student union offered them a reduced membership fee. Minutes from the graduate college’s CRC meetings show
that OUSU offered membership at £700 per annum rather than the
full fee of £1200. As CRC Women’s Officer Verity Allan pointed out at the
time, “a fee of £700 saves us £10 per head”. The minutes also reveal that the CRC felt that they would not
have affiliated without OUSU’s offer to cut the membership
fee for the first year of affiliation. Nick Kruger, the senior
member of the CRC explained that “the fee of £1200 is
unrealistic for the CRC”. OUSU was quick to defend their fee reduction, claiming that it
did not constitute preferential treatment or discrimination
against the full fee-paying Junior Common Rooms of other
colleges, and that St Cross was a special case. Rodrigo Davies, OUSU’s Vice President (Finance),
explained that “the fee that St Cross is paying to OUSU is
the result of a temporary arrangement that is operating while the
college’s common room committee establishes a separate
student body.” “Once this process has finished, St Cross will be able to
affiliate as a Student Union under the terms of the Education Act
and will be liable for the same subscription rates as all other
affiliated common rooms.” OUSU President, Helena Puig Larrauri, explained that
“they do not receive the kind of government funding that
Junior and Middle Common Rooms across the rest of the University
receive for virtue of being student unions.” However the CRC’s decision to affiliate was not put to
ordinary members of the college. Nick Kruger argued at the time
that because “this would be a cost neutral change it would
not be necessary to consult the student body”.ARCHIVE: 1st week TT 2004