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7 Questions With Your Sabbs

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  • Wed 28 Jan 2015 17:09

    We all know there is something wrong with cost of studying at LSE. Not just the cost of being a student in London, and the lack of financial support available to us, but the actual fees just to study here.

    For international students, in just ten years the cost of studying an undergraduate course at LSE has gone from £10,509 to £17,040. The MSc in Gender has risen by £7,000, the MSc Human Rights has increased by £8,500 and the MSc in City Design has risen by nearly £10,000 to £24,456.

    The situation for students from the UK and Europe isn’t much better. The LLM has nearly doubled in cost to £13,600, an MSc in Philosophy of the Social Sciences is £5,000 more expensive now, and an MSc in EU Politics has risen over £7,000 to £18,000 in the next year.

    Unlike fees for home undergraduates, with fees regulated by the UK government, LSE has complete control over how much they charge for Masters courses and for all international students.

    But LSE’s fees setting policy doesn’t make sense. EVERY YEAR fees go up 4%. 4%!! This is beyond inflation, which was at 0.5% in December. So from their first year to their last an undergraduate student that started last year will be paying at least £1,200 by their final year – just because LSE has chosen 4% as the figure to increase fees by.

    Some in the School claim that this 4% rises in line because it corresponds increased in staff salaries, but this isn’t true. Some of the courses the School designates as ‘premium’ increased by 6%, but did staff in those courses see a 6% increase in their salaries? No.

    Is there a 4% increase in student support available? No. Over the next five years the School expects to spend the same amount of money every year on international scholarships. 4% increase in fees every year but 0% increase in scholarship funds.

    • Fees rising by more than inflation
    • Scholarships and bursaries not increasing at same level
    • The School has £90m cash in the bank and had a surplus in the last two years of £48m

    Other Universities, including King’s, Leeds, Nottingham, Cardiff and Edinburgh protect international students by guaranteeing that fees wont rise during their study. LSE should be doing the same.

    The School does their initial fee setting at a meeting called Student Numbers and Finance (SNAF) which is meeting in the next few days and I need your help.

    What we want

    1. Introduce a fixed fee guarantee for international students
    2. End to arbitrary 4% year on year increase for international students
    3. End to LSE application fee
    4. Enhance the support available to international students
    5. Increase student engagement in the fee setting process

     How you can help

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    Other reading, if you’re interested!

    Fees in 2004/5

    Fees in 2015/16

    LSE Fees Policy

    NUS Pound in Your Pocket Report

  • Wed 28 Jan 2015 12:01

    Former General Secretary Amanda Hart visited LSESU last week to talk about her year in office and why student activism can be such a positive force for change.

    She started by telling us about how the decision of LSESU to elect Winston Silcott, falsely accused of murdering a policeman during the Tottenham Riots, as Honourary President blew up into a huge media storm, with press waiting for her outside the East Building. Astonishingly, over 1000 students attended a meeting to discuss the decision – something unimaginable to us today considering UGM participation rates.

     

    She also reflected on her election as the first women General Secretary for fifteen years, having stood on a platform of promoting equality. Eventually Silcott declined the honorary title and the press furore waned, but Amanda is determined that she wouldn’t have done anything differently and doesn’t regret offering him the Presidency. She’s sure that this media attention helped lead to his conviction eventually being overruled.

     

    The experience of the General Secretary Amanda Hart 1988-89 should be a firm reminder of the power of student activism. Today we are still facing issues of inequality, as well as issues around access to higher education due to higher fees. I personally felt inspired by this one example of how LSE Students Union has been a leader in challenging national issues.

    However, in order to challenge, we need to have a robust democracy. We’re not in a position to have 1000 people attend a UGM, with a average turnout being 40 or less. For me, this seems like an urgent need to review our democracy.

    I’m currently leading a consultation into democracy at LSESU following my election pledge to make our SU more transparent.

    Have your say in how you want your Union to be run by filling in this survey, or by coming along to my lunchtime democracy chat on Friday, 1 - 2pm, outside the Activities Resource Centre.

    #takepower

  • Tue 27 Jan 2015 13:36

    An emergency motion has been added to the UGM this Thursday (29th January): Should LSESU Oppose the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill (CTSB)?

    This will be discussed in addition to the following motion: Should LSESU Say No To Violence in Solidarity with Charlie Hebdo?

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    Proposers collected 350 signatures in favour of the motion to ensure that it can be added under the terms of an Emergency Union General Meeting. The UGM will take place from 1 - 2 pm in the Old Theatre, Old Building.

    Read on for a full outline of the motion, plus details on the proposer and seconder.

    Proposer: Tooba Mushtaq

    Seconded: Nona Buckley-Irvine

    This union notes:

    • On 26 November 2014, the Home Secretary Theresa May introduced the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill (CTSB) to Parliament highlighting some revised and new counter-terrorism powers that would be placed on a statutory basis.
    • That CTSB seeks to make the controversial PREVENT and CHANNEL strategies statutory.
    • That academics and campaigners fear the CTSB will criminalise ideas and create a culture where students are unwilling to speak out.
    • The National Union of Students have condemned the Counter terrorism and Security Bill and described the PREVENT strategy and CHANNEL policies as “further developing a culture of suspicion and surveillance on campuses, whilst also potentially conflicting with institutions’ duties to promote freedom of speech, by making them overly risk-averse and unwilling to engage in important topics of discussion.”
    • That Universities UK have expressed concerns about academic freedom in their parliamentary briefing on the counter terrorism and security bill.
    • That the PREVENT strategy guidance in 2011 stated that university staff, lecturers and chaplains should report to the police any Muslim students who are isolated or depressed.
    • The Prevent strategy currently exists and operates on most university campuses.
    • That Islamophobia has been on the rise in the UK and mainland Europe over the last decade.
    • That a vote on whether to make the counter-terrorism policy known as the Prevent strategy into legislation bill on the 29th January.
    • That according to the current Prevent Strategy, potential indicators of “radicalism” or “extremism” include:
      -“A need for identity, meaning and belonging.”
      “A desire for political or moral change.”
      “Relevant mental health issues.”
    • That through the PREVENT strategy, universities will be legally responsible for the ideologies of their students.
    • That the Prevent Strategy has been widely criticised for demonising Muslim students on campus by various Human Rights groups such as Liberty.
    • That on university campuses PREVENT strategy enables the possibility of a No Platform policy being extended to any member deemed “radical” or “extreme” by the university, with no consultation.

    This union believes:

    • That students are not suspects.
    • That students should be offered help and not victimised for suffering from mental health issues.
    • That rushed laws are often ill thought out and poorly scrutinised.
    • That any expectation by the state for academic staff to be involved in monitoring their students is deeply worrying, and could have a chilling effect on relations between staff and students.  
    • That the CTSB could serve to isolate many students who already feel that the only avenue through which the Government will engage them is ‘anti-radicalisation’ initiatives, resulting in further alienation and disaffection.
    • The Counter Terrorism and Security Bill discourages the free expression and analysis of ideas.
    • Academics, as well as anyone in a public sector job, should not have to be part of this surveillance.
    • The implementation of the Prevent strategy on campus will not only isolate Muslim students but undermine the civil liberties of other groups such as environmental, political and humanitarian activists.
    • The monitoring and exclusion of ideas from public debate opposes the basic function of universities; introducing students to a variety of opinions and encouraging them to analyse and debate them.
    • The policy significantly undermines the freedom and activities of university staff and students. 
    • Our public services (i.e. hospitals, schools, universities, prison services) should exist to serve the general public and not be used against the very people it exists to serve.

    This union resolves:

    • That LSESU support an enquiry into the legality of the proposals under the Equality Act 2010 and the Education Act No. 2 1986.
    • That LSESU should issue a public statement condemning the Prevent strategy and the government’s counter terrorism and security bill.
    • For LSESU to work with campus trade unions on combatting the Prevent strategy and lobby them to condemn the Counter terrorism and Security bill.
    • To mandate the Student officers to lobby the university to be more open and transparent about how they are engaging with PREVENT, CHANNEL and other similar initiatives. This involves:
      - Demand publications of how the policy is operating within the College and Student’s Union.
      - This includes access to materials used to train staff and students.
      - Hold consultations with the student body regarding how this affects students.
    • That LSESU and the student officers will not engage with the Prevent strategy and cut any links it indirectly has with the programme via the university.
    • That LSESU will educate students on the dangers of the counter terrorism and security bill and the Prevent Strategy.
    • That the LSESU NUS delegation should support the motion condemning the Counter terrorism and security bill at the NUS National conference 2015.

    Further reading:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/97976/prevent-strategy-review.pdf

    http://www.cageuk.org/report.pdf

    To submit a motion, or to speak for or against these motions, please email su.democracy@lse.ac.uk

    Voting on this motion will take place online at www.lsesu.com/vote from 2pm on Thursday until 5pm on Friday.

    See also:

    More info on UGMs

    Previous blogs about LSESU’s UGMs

    Should LSESU Say No to Violence in Solidarity with Charlie Hebdo?