The Clubs Council has awarded a $4000 ‘financial distress grant’ to the ANU Biology Society to remedy a shortfall created by undisclosed “decisions made in semester 1 2018”. The decision to bail out the society was made unanimously by the Clubs Council Executive and approved by a supermajority vote of ANUSA trustees.
The decision to award the grant was announced earlier today in a joint statement from Clubs Council Chairperson Jacob Mildren and ANUSA President Eleanor Kay. The statement stressed the “honesty and transparency” of the ANU Biology Society in bringing the matter to the Clubs Council’s attention in July of this year, as well as their continued cooperation since then.
It is unclear what the “decisions” were that led to the need for the financial distress grant. Unusually, the statement noted that “it is expected that the ANU Biology Society is not questioned for comment”.
Clubs Council created and then approved a similar grant last year to the ANU Science Society, who incurred a debt between $2000-$5000 on their annual ball that they were unable to pay. At the time, Clubs Council Chairperson Cameron Allen rejected suggestions that the bailout would create a perverse incentive to “just burn piles of money”, as then Debating Society Delegate James Richardson put it. The Science Society has since improved its position and has sold out tickets to its coming ball.
At the same time as the grant to the Science Society was announced, new discipline provisions passed the Council to allow the Clubs Council Executive to reprimand clubs who “grossly mismanage” their affairs. A number of disciplinary actions are available to the Clubs Council under the policy. It is currently unclear whether any will be applied to the Biology Society or their Executive, but the statement released today promised further “consequences”.
The decision was made at a Clubs Council Executive meeting on the 1st of August “under section 6.1.10 of the Clubs Council Regulations”, according to the statement. Section 6.1.10 of the Clubs Council Regulations posted on the ANUSA website states that “No affiliated Club may receive more than 9% of the total Council Executive budget in any given year.” Mildren told Observer that the policy was updated last year to include a new section 6.1.10 relating to financial distress grants, however Observer was unable to find this updated policy on the ANUSA website.
This article was updated after publication to include comments from Jacob Mildren regarding section 6.1.10 of the Clubs Council Regulations.
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