Trinity’s Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) ran a deficit of over €10,000 in the 2015-16 academic year, according to annual accounts shared with Trinity News.
The accounts, which were audited by Cregan Accountants and presented to a meeting of College’s capitated bodies on November 17th, show an increase in expenditures related to events, publications, officer expenses, and salaries. While the Union’s income rose by nearly 10%, to €99,486, expenses rose by more than 30% to €110,400.
A major change year-on-year from the 2014-15 accounts is the reduction in accrued expenses, which have almost entirely been paid. The annual report of the Union, which was presented alongside the accounts, points to the paying of accruals associated with sabbatical accommodation expenses from the last three years as a main reason behind last year’s deficit.
Among the complaints outlined in the Report is the extent to which the GSU is relied upon by College to facilitate the Postgrad Orientation Week in September each year. Running the week cost the Union about €20,000 this year. The report states: “There is a clear deficiency in University funding to facilitate an official College week, one that is so crucial to their own recruitment, retention and strategic objectives. The Union is not in a position to incur costs of this magnitude in the future.”
The Union recognises in its report the need for a third sabbatical officer to share the work currently divided between two such officers, which it is mandated to lobby for. “The needs of the postgraduate community surpass the time available of one person” the Report states.
President of the GSU, Shane Collins, told Trinity News in September that “if you ask any body in the university if their current funding arrangements are sufficient, they will state no. We are no exception.” At that time, Collins stated that the Union were “pursuing other areas of generating revenue which will be identified in our AGM.”
For the past three years, College’s Global Relations Strategy contained provision for €30,000 to be granted to the GSU in a deal to support the Union’s activities, owing to the increasing numbers of non-EU postgraduates studying in Trinity. It has been indicated to GSU officials that this funding will cease after the 2017-2018 academic year.
Additional reporting by Niamh Lynch.