31 students participated in 7 different focus groups
- Lack of knowledge and understanding of what the SU does and how its democracy works
- Communication through email does not reach students effectively
- Societies and sports clubs are perceived as being for undergrad and British students which are heavily connected to drinking culture
- International students identify less with the SU as a whole
- Bureaucracy, long response times, and complicated processes
- Bureaucracy, communication issues, and how to get support from the SU as a student
- Representing BME students in their diversity and complexity
- Encouraging more connections between societies that represent different cultural groups
- Informal and physical events and spaces to discuss forms of discrimination is needed
- Engaging with societies that represent marginalised/cultural groups
- More transparency and accountability needed
- The SU is for undergrad and doesn't represent postgrads well
- They struggle to engage with the SU since they are only at LSE for a year
- Lack of awareness of what the SU does and how useful it can be for postgrads
- The ways of communicating are not working
- The SU is disconnected from academic reps
- Students have to make the effort to find out about the SU rather than the SU telling students about them
- Voting on motions has felt undemocratic because of lack of information and time
- Postgrad students feel less represented
- The SU feels less politically biased than other SUs
- COVID has reinforced isolation for commuter students
- Engaging in societies and sports clubs makes integration of commuter students better
- Information is mainly accessible in the SU building only, it needs wider reach
- Confusion about how PhD students are represented by different representatives and bodies
- They have specific issues like isolation and lack of connection with LSE and the campus
- SU is associated with undergrad students and socialising
- They lack time and career incentive to get involved with the SU
- Lack of connection between different departments and the SU
- Diversity of representation, people who are less visible are represented
- Lack of advocacy and individual support
- Performativity of Pride Week and LSE perceived as unsafe
- Lack of support when students start their own campaigns
- Lack of information and communication not working well
- Need to represent more identities, not just one LGBTQ+ officer
- Not enough awareness about opportunities to get involved, policies and work of current officers
- Lack of information and communication
- Need for disabled students to be a part of the community
- Lack of inspiration of what change could look like
- Fostering engagement to address low turnout
- Need for targeted engagement especially on social media
- Lack of transparency and accountability
Completed voluntarily by 640 current LSE students.
How well represented do you feel by the SU? Scale of 1-10
Average answer: 5.2
Do you currently get involved with the Students’ Union in any of the following activities?
What, if anything, prevents you from taking part in SU democracy activities?
If you could change one thing to improve your democratic experience of the SU, what would it be?
Thinking about the range of students at LSE, what barriers do you think there are, and how much of a barrier are they to engaging in the SU’s democratic activities?
Thinking about the range of students at LSE, what barriers do you think there are, and how much of a barrier are they to engaging in the SU's democratic activities?
Thinking about the barrier from the previous question, how do you think we can make SU participation more welcoming, accessible, and inclusive for all students?
- improve information and communication (66 mentions)
- encourage engagement (58 mentions)
- improve accessibility (45 mentions)
- improve representation and democratic processes (41 mentions)
- address time commitments (23 mentions)
- increase transparency (22 mentions)
How do you think the LSESU should support students to create change?
- support engagement (55 mentions)
- offer financial support (47 mentions)
- more information and communication (45 mentions)
- create space for sharing ideas (41 mentions)
- campaign and support student campaigns
- offer tools and resources (27 mentions)
- listen to students (17 mentions)
If you could tell the SU one thing about how it can support students to raise issues and shape priorities, what would you say?
Top 3 suggestions:
- social events
- organise more events and meetings like town halls, forums
- create more polls and surveys/do more outreach
What would be the best way for students to hold the SU accountable?
61 students mentioned voting and elections as the best way.