The University Times (UT) is to present a report on its finances to Union Forum at least three times a year following a vote at Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Council this evening, while the union’s part-time officers are to submit a written report to each Council.
Speaking to Council, TCDSU President Laura Beston explained that the editor would present to Union Forum in order to achieve “clarity and more accountability”. She noted that it was an “important” move given that the union had “such a large deficit last year”.
The editor of the newspaper, which is funded by TCDSU, will be mandated to present the paper’s budget and a progress report on its income and expenditure to Union Forum, a meeting of the union’s sabbatical and part-time officers, at least three times throughout the year after it presents its initial budget.
Union Forum proposed the motion to Council, which noted that there has been a “disparity between the presented budget to Union Forum at the start of the academic year and the closing accounts.”
“The lack of regular contact between the Union’s executive and the paper has contributed to a deficit,” the motion continued.
Last year, TCDSU recorded a €70,622 deficit in the financial year ending June 2018, marking a sharp increase of over four times the size of the previous year’s deficit and the third consecutive year in which the union returned a deficit. UT made a loss of €16,569, without including the cost of the editor’s salary or accommodation.
Additionally, Council passed a second motion to mandate the union’s part-time officers to submit a written report for noting at each council sitting, which are to be no longer than one A4 page.
The motion noted that it would not be feasible for part-time officers to give a verbal report more regularly than once per term given the large number of part-time officers.
Both motions passed without debate.
In April, students voted against a referendum which proposed significant cuts to the University Times’ budget, with 74% of 3089 voters siding against the referendum. The proposal, which would have come into effect from the 2020/2021 academic year, would have seen the newspaper’s annual budget cut from €45,000 to €3,000. It also called for the editor to submit and present a report at each SU Council.
The referendum was triggered by a petition signed by 500 students to cut the University Times’ budget. The petition followed an article published by the University Times which reported the newspaper’s use of a recording device outside a student’s private on-campus apartment in an investigation into hazing allegations against the Knights of the Campanile, an unofficial society comprising male members of many of Trinity’s sports clubs.
TCDSU Council took place this evening in the Stanley Quek lecture theatre of the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI).
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly implied that the University Times’ annual €45,000 budget does not include the editor’s salary and accommodation. The article was updated at 9:30pm on October 29 to amend this error.