What a complete and utter shambles.

After much speculation, uea(su) have released a statement confirming the cancellation of Pimp My Barrow (PMB). The announcement was made with a complete lack of transparency, no student consultation, and no apology.

Pimp My Barrow has been an annual institution at UEA since students Thomas Tapper and Paul Wheeler founded it in 2006. That’s an important point: PMB was never uea(su)’s idea, they simply assumed management after Tapper and Wheeler graduated. According to pimpmybarrow.org, the event raises ‘over £10,000’ every year for the Big C, Norfolk’s cancer charity. It’s an absolute disgrace that this will not happen in 2019.

Uea(su)’s decision has zero accountability whatsoever. They haven’t named the ‘external events consultant’ and nobody outside the SU office knows who made the decision or why. A vague reference to ‘safety’ without a proper explanation just isn’t enough. If safety or alcohol licensing is the issue, then why did the almost identical Derby Day event in the Square still go ahead? This decision will cost a local charity over £10,000 in lost donations. It’s should’ve been thoroughly scrutinised before and after it was made.

Uea(su) is obsessed with making money from students. If PMB made £10,000 a year for uea(su), there’s no way they would have cancelled it. But because the biggest social event of the year is BYOB with profits going to charity, it’s not in uea(su)’s financial interests to put it on.

This is just the latest in a raft of disappointments, another being the new A-List ticket pricing structure, which introduces a £5 punishment fee for anyone getting to the LCR after midnight, no matter how long they’ve been queuing. The website says this ‘is NOT a money making exercise’. Coincidentally, though, it does make them money.

I asked if the fee could instead be a mandatory donation to a local charity, so at least some good comes of it. The SU replied that they have legal charitable status so, according to them, any money they earn is a donation to charity. Clearly they’ve forgotten that most private schools have the same charitable status, including Eton College.  

Uea(su)’s priority is squeezing as much money as possible out of students, always citing safety and licence laws rather than profit. Right now, uea(su) is not a union of students, it’s a struggling business that lets greed cloud its judgment.

But enough of the whingeing. The real shame is the lost £10,000 in donations to the Big C. They are a fantastic charity so please, and if you can, I’d encourage you to donate at https://fundraise.big-c.co.uk/donate/.

What do you think?