USU ceases alcohol funding for Clubs & Societies off campus
WORDS BY NOAH VAZ
As of Semester 1, Week 1, the University of Sydney Union will only fund alcohol for events held on campus, at a licensed USU venue.
Clubs and societies will therefore no longer receive funding for alcohol at events held off campus. This previously included USU sponsored bar tabs for O’Week events, or end of semester drinks.
However, this new regulation does not affect sponsorship of events like faculty balls or cruises. These events are largely funded by society ticket sales, and the USU plans to continue to support these events by providing support for ancillary costs like catering or location hire. As it stands the USU is the only student union that currently funds alcohol for their events, on or off campus.
The policy rationale of this move is to increase USU oversight over issues like responsible service of alcohol, and duty of care.
“As the USU is committed to creating a safe environment for all members and students we are introducing changes to our C&S policies to help eliminate this risk,” said USU President Courtney Thompson
This new policy comes at a time when University management is implementing some of the recommendations of the Broderick Report on the Cultural Renewal at the University of Sydney Residential Colleges. The report labelled the university setting a “unique social context for the consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol”. Furthermore, the recommendations of the report include suggestions like the consideration of “best practice interventions to reduce access/supply and demand of alcohol, and to reduce harm caused by alcohol” as well as the imposition of “commercial bar rates at College events and venues”, as opposed to alcohol costs subsidised by student club fees.
The USU’s new regulation seems to be following the direction of these recommendations. Some would say this move abets the nanny-state night life culture rife in Sydney at the moment, but others see this move as a step in the right direction to correcting a campus culture that has ignored issues of student safety and welfare.