There is still no decision regarding the revised distribution of board grants among student sports clubs. Two weeks ago, a substantial increase in board funding for Skadi, Antibarbari and RSRC was proposed by the Executive Board. But the University Council has not yet been able to reach a decision on the matter.

The members of the University Council are still divided about the proposal, in which the three aforementioned clubs will actually receive more budgeted months for board activities than all other sports clubs combined. If the proposal is adopted, the three clubs will be funded according to the existing scheme for student societies since they own their own clubhouse, for which they bear responsibility. This means that they are allocated grants on the basis of their membership, rather than receiving a share of the funding distributed via Erasmus Sport. In concrete terms, the three clubs’ funding would increase from a joint total of 21 to 176 budgeted months for board activities.

The University Council discussed the proposal with the Executive Board on Thursday afternoon. A number of other sports clubs have also shared their doubts regarding the new proposal.

Fairer distribution

Joyce Spoon (President of Erasmus Volley) and Daan Peeters (President of the tennis club Passing Shot) had requested an opportunity to have their say in the University Council. While in principle they welcome the Executive Board’s plan to allocate more funding for board work to sports clubs, they would like to see a more balanced distribution. After all, the rowing, football and rugby clubs aren’t the only organisations that have to handle growing memberships and the associated responsibilities – the other sports clubs are becoming increasingly active too.

More and more students choose sports

“Student life is changing,” noted Joyce Spoon. “As a result of all sorts of measures, such as the student loan system and ‘Nominal = Normal’, we see a growing number of students opting for a sports club. The number of students who engage in sports has risen by 800 since 2012.” In the case of her club, Erasmus Volley, we can see a strong increase in the number of members and activities. “We’re already working with a waiting list for students who want to play volleyball. Two-thirds of this list are international students.”

“You can see a similar situation at the tennis club, but also at hockey club Never Less, for example,” adds Daan Peeters. Why isn’t this wad of extra board funding for Antibarbari, RSRC and Skadi distributed among all the sports clubs?

Crystal-clear proposal

René Karens, Chairman of the University Council, added that the Council members weren’t decided on the matter yet and asked Rector Magnificus Huib Pols to discuss it in more detail in the months ahead. That’s fine in principle, said the Rector but “the proposal on the table is crystal-clear. The three clubs in question own their own clubhouse, for which they bear responsibility, so from now on, they will be entitled to student grants according to the same scheme as the student societies: based on their membership.”

Pols emphasised that he is open to alternative proposals, but would like to end up with a transparent arrangement. The University Council will be re-examining this proposal and possible alternatives over the course of this month. TF