The plans to charge students, or ‘provisional members’ as they are now called, a fee were approved yesterday at the institute’s monthly council meeting.
But this was not before student representatives and other council members urged the decision to be delayed to allow further consultation.
The recommendations were only approved after it was agreed that the funding of the student societies would be looked at again as part of the general budget review later in the year.
Student representative Michael Savage Roberts said the decision would be a double whammy for students and student societies, as the proposals would remove funding and increase the costs for the societies.
‘There will be increased burdens on society volunteers,’ he added.
While funds would now be directed at education and training issues, other student activities, such as social events, would be funded on a ‘user pays’ basis.
Support staff numbers would also be reduced, with societies sharing staff with the new regional network.
Several council members hit out at the proposals.
One council member, Douglas Llambias, said: ‘We are treating our students badly.’ He complained the students had been ‘brow beaten’ into supporting the changes, and described the decision to call students ‘provisional members’ as a ‘bugger’s muddle’.
But deputy president peter Wyman said he was ‘bemused’ by the feelings of some council members. On the issue of funding he said it was time ‘to get real’. He said the Big Five firms were no longer prepared to pay the current levy, which could be up to £37 per student.
Wyman said: ‘The funding will have to come from somewhere else; we are not flushed with funds.’
The plans were finally approved after a bid to delay implementation failed to win support.
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