Opportunity to reply to The Founder summer ball article

‘The Students’ Union has confidence in the abilities of the staff involved in the organising and running of the Summer Ball and feels the Founder article published last term unjustly criticised those staff and the Students’ Union.

In particular, the StudentsÂ’ Union feels that some of the comments in the article are offensive, unfair and untrue based on the following:

– The article implies that those staff over 30 should be purged from the StudentsÂ’ Union. The Students Union has Equality and Diversity policies in place to ensure it is an all inclusive organisation for both Students and Staff. The very nature of a StudentsÂ’ Union encourages diversity and criticising members of staff based on the fact that they are above 30 is ageist and contravenes StudentsÂ’ Union culture as well as our Equality and Diversity policy (and Schedule 6 of our constitution which applies to all StudentsÂ’ Union card carrying members of the StudentsÂ’ Union). The Equality and Diversity policy goes on to state in section 3.3 that ‘all members must support the policy and promote equality and diversityÂ’. Both of these policies are available for viewing on the SU website.

– The article stated that ‘the SU normally defends itself by pointing out that demand is so high for the event that lowering the ticket price is not something that needs to be doneÂ’. The SU does not defend itself in this way. The only way to lower the price would be to scale back the type of event organised and relocate the event away from Founders building. Many would argue that moving the event away from Founders building may result in a lower ticket price but would also take away from the atmosphere of our showpiece event.

– The article incorrectly stated that Bath Spa had the Kaiser Chiefs – in fact they had a tribute act the Kaiser Thiefs who would obviously have cost substantially less than the real thing.

The Founder published a poll of students, in which 84% were not satisfied with the summer ball line up. At the time a very small proportion of the student population had actually voted. In addition, this poll was conducted prior to the full line-up being announced which the Founder would have realised had it made contact with the StudentsÂ’ Union. The reaction on the night when the line up was announced was positive; students cheered in increasing volume as each of the acts were announced. In addition, the StudentsÂ’ Union ran an exit questionnaire/poll at the close of the summerball and received predominately very positive feedback from those who actually attended the ball.

To conclude, while the StudentsÂ’ Union is dissatisfied about the inaccuracies in the article, it is also greatly concerned about the unfair comments made about its staff and about not being given opportunity to comment before the article went to print. The StudentsÂ’ Union could have given fuller information about the line up and costs. This would have introduced balance to the article and highlighted the impact on the ticket price of hosting the event in the surroundings of Founders.

As ever, the StudentsÂ’ Union holds an annual review of the Summer Ball. During this review process, consideration is given to the operation of the event and the reaction and satisfaction of our customers. As part of this review process, the StudentsÂ’ Union would welcome any feedback from those who attended the Ball (and from those who chose not to!). Any such feedback can be directed to the VP Communications & Services on vpcomserv@su.rhul.ac.uk.

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