“Accounting irregularities” at University-owned service provider
Reports have emerged of “accounting irregularities” at MU Student Union Ltd (MUSUL Services), relating to cash deposits made during 2015. MUSUL Services, a body owned by the University of Melbourne, is separate from the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU, the body usually seen as the “student union” on campus) and provides back-of-house services to UMSU and the Graduate Student Association (GSA) under a contract.
MUSUL vs UMSU
The names “University of Melbourne” and “Melbourne University” are often used interchangably — which raises the question, does this mean UMSU (University of Melbourne Student Union) and MUSUL (MU Student Union Ltd—‘MU’ officially doesn’t stand for anything but you can probably guess) are the same thing?
The answer is a resounding no. The two organisations are legally and organisationally separate (they have different roles and leadership), and in fact, it could be said that MUSUL isn’t really a “student union” at all.
UMSU is responsible for student representation, clubs, activities, pushing for social equality, running the Info Desk, AV@Melbourne, and a range of other roles in that general remit. It is run by the elected Students’ Council and its elected Officebearers.
MUSUL is responsible for managing Union House, 130 Degrees catering, the UniStore; and has a service agreement to provide HR, IT, Finance and similar corporate services to UMSU and the GSA. It is run by a Board composed of four University-appointed Directors and three elected students.
— UMSU Media Release
Parkville Station reported this week on tensions between UMSU and MUSUL relating to deficiencies in provision of services such as human resources and finance.
It appears that some physical cash that was handled by MUSUL Services did not make it to the bank, and accordingly wasn’t credited to UMSU’s financial statements. According to UMSU, MUSUL says that UMSU will not lose any money as a result of this, although it is not clear whether this means that MUSUL has successfully recovered all money, or whether it is being covered from within MUSUL’s own budget.
— MUSUL CEO Trevor White
In a media release, UMSU made clear that none of its staff or elected student representatives were involved in the irregularities. In a statement to Parkville Station, MUSUL Services backed up this account, and told us that an investigation had resulted in one of MUSUL’s staff members ceasing to work for the organisation.
We’re actively investigating this story and expect to report on it in next week’s print edition, available from 7th March. Know something? Send us an email — firstname.lastname@example.org.