Tuition fees have been naturalised as an inevitable part of what it means to get an education. Since the decision to triple them from £3,290 to £9,000 was made in 2010, and then implemented in 2012, the generation of students who actively opposed the change at the time have now moved on. The urgency the issue had back then has since diminished, but this needs to change. Without an alternative vision of free education, we risk contributing to the normalisation of a system of funding which sees students as cash cows, burdening us with debt even when students are forced to resort to food banks. The inequities and flaws of the system have been stripped bare for all to see over the last year. The national wave of student rent strikes, protesting exorbitant rents, disregard for student welfare, and the exploitation of international students during a pandemic have mobilised the largest student movement since 2010, but we cannot stop there. The latest rent strike concessions across the country have demonstrated the power of student organising, and this energy must be turned to the campaign against tuition fees.
With such a high proportion of international students studying at the LSE, it is essential that our courses, curricula, and role models reflect the diversity of the student body. That we see so few lecturers and academics of colour, while the cleaning and maintenance staff are almost entirely from ethnic minority backgrounds, is a testament to the change we need to make. We stand in solidarity with the fantastic work being done by the Justice for Cleaners campaign in standing up against the disgracefully racialised treatment of some of our most marginalised and under-appreciated workers. We would welcome the chance to be involved in any discussions about how the SU can lead by example on these issues.
The LSE SU has stood out in the way that it has given its whole-hearted support to the LSE rent strike and Justice for Cleaners campaigns. However, while LSE, UCL, and SOAS SUs are doing what they can, students in University of London Intercollegiate Halls have not had the same level of representation that they might have received from the old University of London Union (ULU). We would campaign to have the ULU reinstated in some form to represent students in halls, as well as coordinate London-wide campaigning and student activism. These are ambitious goals that we would never achieve alone, however we hope to be able to work with other groups and campaigns to put these issues back on the agenda.
Our Official Demands:
(Endorsed by Students Deserve Better (NUS), 9k4what, the Rent Strike Network, and Pause or Pay UK)
- An immediate fee and rent reimbursement
- A full higher education
- An end to the hostile environment policy and the hypersecuritisation of campuses
- An end to job and course cuts
- The formation of student-staff covid councils
- Support student rent strikes to reimburse students for the pandemic
- Campaign for the reinstatement of the University of London Union (ULU)
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