State of the Unions

News team

Glasgow University is unique in having two separate student unions, the Queen Margaret Union and the Glasgow University Union, plus the Students’ Representative Council which represents students to the University.

Where does their money come from, and what do they do?

Where their money comes from

What they do with it

Students’ Representative Council (SRC)


4 paid full time sabbatical officers –
Vice President Media & Communications
Vice President Student Support
Vice President Learning & Development

4 College Convenors
4 Postgraduate Representatives
4 General Representatives
2 First Year Reps
1 PGT Convenor
8 Equality Officers
19 School Representatives

Who Actually Runs the Place

Bob Hay, Permanent Secretary


The Advice Centre
Minibus Shuttle Service
Secondhand Bookshop
Copy/Printing/Binding Services
Student Volunteer Support Service

Support for

120+ Clubs & Societies
Subcity Radio
Glasgow Guardian
Glasgow University Magazine

SRC Constitution (PDF)

SRC Strategic Plan 2011-2015 (PDF)

Glasgow University Union (GUU)

Board of Management

Honorary Secretary
Assistant Honorary Secretary
Convener of Debates
Convener of Games
Convener of Libraries
Convener of Entertainments
10 Present Student Members

Who Actually Runs the Place

Worryingly, students


9 Bars
The Hive
GUU Shop
Union Cafe
Free Condoms

GUU Constitution (PDF)

GUU Strategic Plan 2011-2015 (PDF)

Queen Margaret Union (QMU)

Board of Management

President – Paid full time sabbatical
Honorary Secretary
Honorary Assistant Secretary
Events Convenor
Publications Convenor
Social Convenor
Campaigns and Charities Convenor
12 Ordinary Board Members
2 Former Student Members

Who Actually Runs the Place

Mr Mac, General Manager


Food Factory
Lacuna Cafe
Coffee Shop
3 Bars
QM Shop
Free Condoms

QMU Constitution (PDF)

Edit at 20:04 on 10/02/2012: changed images for SRC & QMU to better sit alongside image for GUU.

Edit at 21:19 to add GUU Strategic Plan


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What a load of rubbish.
No mention of guu strategic plan which was received by the university with a capital investment of £120,000.
No mention of the fact that guu is the student union of the year for the UK.
No mention of the fact that guu is one of only two in Scotland breaking even or turning a surplus.
No mention of expenditure, which is vital I’m sure you will agree when discussing business plans, performance and ‘the state’ of the union.

Let’s look at this objectively, let’s look at facts.

So the ‘union boys’ idea of fun doesn’t agree with yours, tell you what, don’t join.
Don’t criticise the union on the basis of flawed figures, useless analysis and biased, as usual, journalism.

How many times this year has the src or Qmu had an event televised nationality to great aclaim?

Let’s try again guardian.

Colin woods
Proud to call this article a lot of rubbish.


Thank you for your response guardian.

Now if you could add the outgoings/expenses of each union and change the guu photo to the 30th anniversary world champions debate that would be great.

You should probably change the other two photos back at the same Time, we wouldn’t want the guu looking good, would we.

Also let’s think about what you are saying here… Let’s replace student run student bodies with manager/income/privately led bodies with ‘token’ sabbatical officers to make us students feel represented.

Very good.


Hi Colin,

There’s no mention of the GUU strategic plan… good point, I’ve added it above. Am I correct in remembering there isn’t one (yet) for the QMU?

There’s no mention of the “student union of the year” award because we’ve been unable to find much about who the award is from or what it entails. Everyone has been unusually reticent about revealing who the GUU competed against to win this award, and a photo of Chris Sibbald holding a big plate in front of a star curtain isn’t all that convincing.

There’s no mention of any other unions in the country or expenditure, no, but there’s a lot of things not mentioned. A lot of things are outside the scope of what we wanted to do here, which is to provide an introduction for the casually curious. Expenditure graphics would have been great, but we aren’t able to do much else at the moment, we may go back to it soon. Expenditure is much more difficult to decipher from reports, as, for example, staff costs for the shop might be lumped in with “staff” expenditure or it might be lumped in with “shop” expenditure. It’s a bigger project, and we didn’t have the time or resources for this, so the list of key services will have to do for now.

There’s no mention of televised events, just as there is no mention of things the SRC has gotten into national media, or how well the Secret Policemen’s Ball went last week, or anything like that. It’s outside of the scope of this article.

This isn’t a big analysis or statement on the purpose and condition of the unions. It’s a graph showing their relative sizes in terms of income and where that money came from in 2009/10, with a wee bit of context. Little more than that.

Sean Anderson,
Proud to have been one of the contributors to this article.


P.S. as you replied while I was still taking my sweet time writing the above and eating biscuits…

Where in the article does it propose changing the management style of any of the bodies?


As for the photos, I’ll happily replace the SRC/QMU ones just as soon as they start holding an annual chundering competition. All photos now have a cheeky subtext, so now it’s fair.

Charles Andri Sevorliach Brown

Sean using the phrase “Worryingly, students” when describing who runs the place does kinda imply you think something is wrong with that and gives the impression you feel it should be changed otherwise there would be no need for the “Worryingly” infront of students.

Mark Low

In what way does this present a negative view of the GUU? As it says at the start of the article: “Where does their money come from, and what do they do?”. Other than a possibly questionable choice of photo (which is still of a (bi-?)annual GUU event and therefore relevant), the article is in no way attempting to contrast the financial state of each union post-expenditure.

The points you seem to want to be voiced in the article have no place there but in a different article, which would have to explore the highs and lows of each union and not just a breakdown of their income and the services they offer.

Personally, I think this article is simply an interesting infographic and bar the photo choice, pretty much unbiased.


I wouldn’t have taken any issue with this article were it not for the fact that when it was initially uploaded it was so horribly anti guu I felt the need to.
A lot of hard work goes in at our end of campus, all I ask for is an even playing field.

Financial accounts are designed to be easy to read; good place to start is the bottom line.

Feel free to add everything positive you can about the src and qmu, I take no issue with promoting success; but your bias against guu undermines gu guardian as a serious and reliable source of student media.

And on student union of the year, it was awarded by ‘mirror club awards’ against every Su in the UK. Finalists included guu, Leeds, ucl, Southampton, cardif and others.

Qmu as far as I know, have no plan.

Thank you for your response.


Who actually runs the place? ‘Worryingly’ students.

This along with the photo, clearly meant to be linked to this, is what annoys me.

I do agree, it is interesting to see where each body earns it’s money.

However, in my mind this article is biased and serves no purpose other than to entertain the likes of us who have time to argue about it.

I’m off to start training for iron stomach 2012.

All the best.

Paddy Baxter

Dear Author,

If the inspiration for photographs is events that happen on a bi-annual (or more regular basis) then why has an unforgiving iron stomach photo been selected instead of a photo of the debates chamber packed out for comedy or (re)freshers’ debates?

There is an obvious bias within the Guardian which prevents it from being a credible source of student media consumption.

Everybody has their own bias, and I am no exception to the rule. The bias can be forgiven if it is negligible but here it is overt and unfair. The good work that students do (rather than paid employees) is not taken into account, neither is the fact that GUU is not some dangerous, purely student-led organisation. GUU is of course led by a student, as a students’ union should be, but there are checks placed on the President by the Honorary Treasurer, two Vice Presidents and Former Student Members; all of which are elected, but are graduates.

This article is incredibly flawed and biased and therefore loses almost all credibility. I’m all for a fair analysis of how our unions and SRC spend and make their money, but this is far from what I, or (as I imagine) most of Glasgow University wants.


GUU member, QMU fan and friend of SRC.

Paddy Baxter


Disgraceful reporting from the Guardian as usual. Its no surprise no one on campus takes it seriously.


Another banner day at the Glasgow Grundian. I don’t know what I find more deplorable: your undeniable bias against the GUU or the fact that you’re too lazy to even try and conceal it.

Sean Anderson has said he is proud to have contributed to this article. I think that sums up the attitude of this ‘news’ paper towards the GUU in a nutshell. You are still holding on to a dated and misguided notion of the union and are too stubborn and/or narrow-minded to let it go.

Dan Brown.

Proud to call this article as he sees it.

Alasdair Hunter

Decide whether you want to be a credible source of reporting or a glorified top trumps card please Guardian.

The General Manager of the QM is employed by the Executive Committee which consists of the three elected student exec members and a Chartered Accountant elected annually by the membership at the general election and the AGM respectively.

As for your handy graphics, income without accompanying expenditure or reserves is hardly useful.

Andrius Rudeičiukas

Do student’s unions get any fund from the state?

Suzanne Martin

Dear Editorial Staff,

As a student intending to pursue a career in broadcast journalism I was hoping to become much more invovled with campus media on my return from my year abroad. I feel it’s necessary to inform you that after this blatant demonstration of journalistic bias and what is frankly an apalling slip-up by editorial staff, I will most certainly not be considering the Glasgow University Guardian (unless I get the opportunity to turn it around).

I suggest that if you wish to preserve any credibility as a valuable source of information on campus you do the following immediatly:

1. Change both the image of the GUU and the QMU, as neither are relevent to this article. Perhaps a picture of the Beer Bar and the Food Factory, as both are an accurate representation of daily life within our Unions.

2. Remove ‘Worryingly, students’. This is simply bad journalism and I’m shocked that it was not picked up by any editorial staff.

3. Complete the list of elected members on the GUU Board of Management.

4. At the very least you must include the profit or loss of each of these University bodies as without it, not only is this article a piece of bad journalism, but it’s also completely irrelevant.


Suzanne Martin,
A very disappointed and ashamed student.