On the subject of this week’s frontpage, I find myself slightly torn as to which party is truly at fault. Race2 is one of the University’s most well-renowned charity events, which challenges the participants to hitchhike from Scotland to continental Europe.
This year, racers were challenged to travel from either Edinburgh, Glasgow or Stirling to Munich, Germany with the aim of spending as little money as possible.
Participants were required to raise a total of £200 for charity as part of completing the event. They were also required to pay £65 to cover the cost of travel and accommodation the Race2 Committee supplied for them.
However, some of those who did not raise the required £200 are now facing disciplinary action from the Students’ Association.
Whilst I am certain that the Race2Committee made it abundantly clear that there would be consequences if racers failed to meet targets, in the instances discussed in the article, I’m not sure that the crime warrants the punishment.
The article references the case of a student who fell £50 short of the threshold.
In this case, I am certain that the individual was at least trying to raise money for a good cause, and unfortunately, for whatever reason, didn’t meet the target. Nonetheless, £150raised for charity is still a commendable feat.
If, for example, a participant with no valid excuse, put no effort whatsoever into fundraising, then they deserve to face consequences for their actions. This would be clear if the end result of their fundraising was a meagre £20, for example.
Pursuing action over failure to contribute an additional £50 on top of £150 would be some wonderfully uncompassionate bureaucratic nonsense.
The Race2 Committee is just following the rules, however it would benefit them to think a little about when to exercise their “power”. Why would you punish those who ultimately did a good deed, but just not as good as everyone else?
The great irony of all this is that the St Andrews Students’ Association (a registered charity), through it’s never-ending love of red tape, would likely incur a cost of over £50 in man-hours alone devoted to pursuing disciplinary action.
In addition to this, disciplinary action by banning a student from the Union, the Association would also lose potential revue.
Punishing a student over such a trivial amount would be akin to Rory the Lion shooting himself in the foot. Furthermore, if we continue to punish students who partake in charitable activities, they will stop fundraising. In this case, Rory the Lion will suffer the same fate as his cousin Cecil.
All of this aside, I would encourage those who failed to meet the £200threshold to fundraise and donate to charity where they can. With no excuse, you too are not off the hook. As you initially agreed to, you have amoral obligation to seek appropriate means to provide as much charity as possible.
Nonetheless, I don’t think the Union should force you to bake a tray of cookies and stand idly outside the library, when at this time of year you should be revising inside it.