UGM - 31 March 2021
Should LSESU have a full-time Postgraduate Students’ Officer elected in the Lent Term Elections?
Proposer: Morgan Fairless
Seconder: Sarah Gerwens
- The Students’ Union has a deficit in Postgraduate Representation. There are widely recognised issues in reaching, providing services to, and representing PG students.
- The Postgraduate Students’ Officer exists in a complicated place within the union: it is a Sabbatical officer position, but it is the only part-time position, and starts their tenure about 5 months after the rest of the sabbatical officers. This causes issues in terms of a slower induction period, shortened term (November - June), and the potential to be disjointed from other Sabbatical Officer work started earlier in the year.
- The Michaelmas Term election period is a barrier for incoming 1-year PG students with no prior experience at LSE. That is, it is expected that incoming students to LSE realise what the issues are, build a support network for campaigning, and conduct a successful election strategy - all within the period of one month after starting their Masters experience.
The LSESU is undergoing a strategy review, which the current PG officer will influence with the publication of an initial report highlighting the issues noted above. It is the hope that this strategy review generates practice changes that will help with PG representation in the Union. After the strategy review, there will also be a democracy review.
This motion aims to provide a steer for that democracy review. LSE students want a full time Postgraduate Students’ Officer with equal term lengths as the rest of the Sabbatical Officers.
The main point of the motion however is to endorse the principle of having a full-time officer who starts their term concurrently with the rest of the sabbatical officers, the upcoming democracy review has a prerogative to decide on the most appropriate way of achieving this principle.
Additionally, the motion provides a steer to the Union in terms of the necessary funding for the position: if funds are not available from the Union itself, it should approach LSE to fund the position.
A potential proposed framework for this would be:
- To elect a PG Officer in the Lent Term, whose term would start at the same time as the rest of the Sabbatical officers (June).
- The PG Officer would work under a flexible hours contract from June until they finish their LSE course (for instance, sending in the dissertation), and then move to a full time contract for the remainder of their term.
It is expected that this change will take time to implement, but no longer than the 2022-23 academic year.