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People seeking asylum in the UK have often been forced to flee their own country because of war, persecution or violence. Leaving behind their families, friends, homes and jobs they come the UK in order to seek safety and to start a new life.
The bureaucratic and unfair nature of the UK immigration process means that asylum seekers wait an extremely long time for the Home Office decision that allows them to stay in the UK permanently; sometimes the Government takes years to process an application for asylum. Whilst waiting to hear back from the Home Office asylum seekers do not have permission to work and are reliant on inadequate government financial handouts. This leaves asylum seekers facing serious economic hardship.
During the application process young people are allowed to attend education in the UK up to A-Levels but they do not have equal access to university. Asylum seekers are not considered to be “Home Students” so despite having no financial resources and no right to work they have to pay very high upfront fees and cannot apply for student loans or bursaries.
These rules make it nearly impossible for asylum seekers to attend university as the costs are way too high and there is nowhere they can go for financial support.
Over the past two years LSE STAR (Student Action for Refugees) successfully campaigned for LSE to offer £20k of financial support to asylum seekers. Building on this success we will be campaigning for the government to change the law so that all asylum seekers and refugees are considered to be Home Students. This would ensure asylum seeker and refugees have equal access to an university.
In the run up to the UK general election, we will be lobbying the government to introduce and enforce legislation that ensures that home fees and student finance are available to young refugee and asylum seekers wanting to access higher education.
General Election info on lsesu.com
You Don’t Have to be British to Vote
Missed the hustings last week? Here’s another chance for you to hear from the LSESU Elections candidates before you make up your mind this week.
If your hall or society is running hustings this week, let us know and we’ll add it to the list.
Monday, March 2
LSESU LabourWhen: 2-3 p.m.Where: NAB 2.16
Women in Business Society, Women Leaders of Tomorrow and Feminist SocietyWhen: 6-7 p.m.Where: STC.S221
LSESU African and Caribbean Society and Islamic SocietyWhen: 7 p.m.Where: Tower 1 G.01
Tuesday, March 3
Hustings for AU President and AU ExecWhen: 11 a.m. - noonWhere: Exercise Studio, Sixth Floor, Saw Swee Hock Student Centre
Bankside Hall: Part Time Officers, Trustee Board and Democracy CommitteeWhen: 7 p.m.Where: Bankside Bar
Wednesday, March 4
Bankside Hall: Special General Secretary Candidates Hustings
When: 7 p.m.Where: Bankside Bar
Yeah, there are more interesting things to do than vote. There are a lot of Loud Noises in the SU building, too much work left to do (and too many episodes of House of Cards left to watch). And maybe you just don’t think it’s relevant to you. So why bother?
Well, let’s say you did vote for the changes you’d like to see. And then the Officers who’d promised them made them happen. What would that look like?
Just this year, we saw the introduction of several great initiatives on campus in the term of the Sabbatical Officers, Part-Time Officers and Liberation Officers. Here are just a few highlights…
1. Rent guarantor scheme
Many private landlords require a third party to act as a guarantor for rent payments before they’ll agree to rent to a student.
Moving to London can be tough enough for many students, even without the added stress of finding somewhere affordable to live. The LSE will now be able to act as a rent guarantor for students. Learn more about how you can make use of this service here.
2. Exam feedback
Exams can be pretty stressful. Not knowing where you went wrong is…well, an even worse feeling.
This year, Tom, the Education Officer secured individualised exam feedback for 1st and 2nd year undergraduates in the International Relations department. Hopefully, other departments will be able to follow suit soon.
3. AU For All Campaign
If you’re skilled enough to represent your university at a sport, you should be able to do so. AU For All aims to create a more inclusive Athletics Union through participating in campaigns such as the #rainbowlaces project, which seeks to tackle homophobia in sport.
4. Microwaves on campus
Don’t care about rent, sport, or exams? Well, how about food?
This year, there are two more microwaves on campus. Arguably, that’s still not quite enough for the number of students, but at least now you’ll be able to save money by bringing your own food to uni.
5. Wellbeing Project
Sometimes you just need a moment to breathe, take a break from the books, and chill out. And you know what? That’s perfectly okay.
For the first time, there was a full week of activities on campus around health and wellness, including free massages, cheap smoothies, meditation, and even rock climbing!
6. Women’s Network
Regardless of your sex, you can always channel your inner Leslie Knope.
The LSESU Women’s Network was launched this year to empower LSE women in all aspects of life. Events so far have included panels on women in business, law, politics, and the third sector.
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