Vindicat lustrum 300,000 euros over budget

The 200-year lustrum organised by Vindicat in 2015 left the student association with a serious financial hangover: a shortfall of more than 300,000 euros for the massive celebration. While the members are still licking their wounds, the association's rector is particularly angry that the info has been leaked.

During a general meeting of members (ALV) on Thursday evening, the 322,580.30 euro shortfall which Vindicat incurred during their 2015 lustrum was a point of discussion. Nearly simultaneously, the news went viral online via an inaccurate story on the website When Martijn Achtereekte, rector of Vindicat, checked his telephone after the ALV had ended, it became clear that the numbers discussed during the meeting were already online. A document including all of the costs and benefits from the lustrum and a statement that a VAT mistake resulted in a loss of more than 300,000 euros had been uploaded to the website.

The budget was exceeded by 776,249 euros
‘The information about the VAT mistake was pulled out of thin air and it’s not true’, Achtereekte quickly adds. The budget was exceeded by 776,249 euros. But what happened next? The total costs of more than 2.5 million euros exceeded the budget by no less than 776,249 euros. Although the profits of 414,171 euros were greater than expected, a loss of 322,580.30 euros remains.

Massive turnout

‘The lustrum simply ended up being more expensive than expected’, says Achtereekte. ‘The number of visitors we had was so much higher than we dared to dream. The turnout was massive and, consequently, the costs were also higher and the earnings did not offset them.’ Due to the significant visitor turn out, Achtereekte says that things like security and cleaning costs were higher than originally budgeted. In the end, the ‘general costs’ were 272,195 euros more than expected.

The venue for the celebration was also more expensive than previously thought, costing the association no less than 844,378 euros. ‘That was indeed a setback. This lustrum was unique because we organised a festival ourselves. That was very expensive.’ The association’s senate saw the financial setback coming. ‘We worked very closely with the lustrum committee in recent months, and new bills and creditors just kept coming. We simply did not expect the final figure to be so high.’

Luckily, according to Achtereekte, the members reacted positively to the news on Thursday evening. ‘The ALV was very well attended. There was a lot of praise for the lustrum committee and how well the lustrum itself went. Members came up with all kinds of ideas to earn back the 300,000 euros.’ That includes the website, where money is being collected to close the financial gap. As of now, 544 euros has been donated.

Raising the beer price

‘Another option is to organise an event and raise the beer price. Some also suggested having all members make a contribution toward paying back the loss.’ With around 2,000 members, that would mean a sum of roughly 150 euros per person. ‘I want to emphasise that we cannot do anything else about the loss at this point, and as the senate, we have to find a solution’, says Achtereekte. ‘Thankfully, the association did not end up having financial problems due to this set back.’

‘The committee is not at fault’
He finds it rather unpleasant that the financial details have been leaked online. ‘It was probably a member who sent the numbers to someone with bad intentions. That is disappointing. We are going to look into it internally to find out who did it so that measures can be taken.’

In the article on 925.nlthe treasurer of the lustrum committee was really put through the wringer. He was named and blamed for forgetting to add on the VAT. ‘That is simply untrue and that is why I have done everything in my power to ensure it is amended’, says Achtereekte. ‘That has now been taken care of.’ Online ‘wanted’ posters have already shown up with a photo of the treasurer and his name. Whoever finds him will receive a 340,000 euro reward, according to the posters. Achtereekte has not yet spoken to the treasurer, but fears that he is already suffering from the inaccurate news report and all the media attention. ‘We have not been able to reach the treasurer.’

Achtereekte wants to stress that the sum of more than 300,000 euros is indeed a major loss, but the association and its members are still positive about it. ‘The lustrum committee has worked incredibly hard for two years in order to make a big lustrum possible, and they don’t deserve the blame.’