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  • Thu 29 Jan 2015 14:01

    Next Thursday (29th January), a UGM will be held to discuss the following motion: Should LSESU Stop Taxing Periods?

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    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: Natalie Nunn

    Seconded: Perdita Blinkhorn


    This Union notes:


    1. The Government classes sanitary products such as tampons a

    ‘luxury non-essential item’ and taxes them as such, at 5%.


    2. HMRC’s list of non-taxed, essential items includes: ‘alcoholic

    jellies’ & ‘exotic meats including crocodile and kangaroo’.

     
    3. That individuals of all genders and no genders have periods.

    5. That trans people and people with complex gender identities often face workplace discrimination, which involves being denied promotions, being harassed, being fired, or not being hired due to their gender identity. This leads to unstable financial situations that do not need to be exacerbated by unnecessary costs.


    4. Poor menstrual hygiene has been linked to school absenteeism and high drop out rates.

    5. Sanitary products help to prevent infections caused by poor menstrual hygiene.

    6. That on average, tampons and pads can cost almost £45 a year for an individual to purchase. This is often prohibitively expensive for individuals on a low budget, such as students who are facing rises in the cost of living (including the cost of food, gas and rent).


    7. LSESU currently stock sanitary products in the East Building shop and make a minor profit on these.


    This Union believes:

    1. Essential items ought not to be taxed – tax lessens affordability, and thus accessibility. People who menstruate should not face barriers to obtaining essential sanitary products.

    2. Sanitary products are essential; without them, people who menstruate would not be able to pursue a flexible public or private life, free from stigma.

    3. They are the equivalent of condoms in their utility, and these are provided free by the NHS, and by the LSESU.

    4. The participation of those who menstruate in public life is essential, and is partly dependent upon access to sanitary products.

    6. That cisgender women, transgender men, people with complex gender identities, and disabilities are often paid less than their cisgender abled male counterparts, making the cost of sanitary items relatively more costly.


    This Union resolves:

    1. To sell sanitary products (such as tampons and pads) in all LSESU shops at a zero profit sum.

    2. To support the campaign for sanitary products to be tax exempt.

    To submit a motion, or speak for or against this motion, 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

  • 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