Legal update on BSA & donating to UCU

Recently the BSA issued a statement in relation to the UCU strike expressing its sympathy and support for those members affected by the UCU strike. In the statement it was said that the BSA had donated to the UCU Fighting Fund. Following legal consultation, we recognised that legally we are not permitted to make a donation to the UCU Fighting Fund and the payment was stopped. The trustees have a legal duty to protect the BSA’s money to use exclusively for its charitable purposes, which are the advancement of public education by the promotion and diffusion of the knowledge of sociology … They are also legally prohibited from spending the charity’s resources in a way that could (or be perceived to) materially benefit them personally. The UCU Fighting Fund is not for sociologists alone and could theoretically be accessed by trustees.  If the BSA was to make a donation to the UCU Fighting Fund, the trustees would technically be ‘in breach of trust’ on the grounds of personal conflict of interest and the misuse of charity funds which would be a very serious matter for the trustees and the charity. We would like to extend our sincere apologies for this misunderstanding and to stress that we remain very aware of the difficulties that some members will be experiencing at this time.