LSESU appears to break NSS Guidelines

In emails and physical promotions of the National Student Survey (NSS), the LSE Students’ Union (LSESU) appears to interpret a question and highlight its own successes. NSS guidelines ask that promotional material focus on getting students to answer the survey, stating that providers should not “explicitly or implicitly advise students on how to interpret the survey” and should further refrain from telling students how to answer questions.

The banner in the NSS promotional material at LSE reads “Tell the NSS – LSESU Represents You”, seemingly advising students on how to respond to question 26. The email – and posters distributed around the SU – highlights successes of the Union.

The email reads: “But we have a slight problem. According to the NSS, Students’ Unions are only there to provide support on academic interests. We know, right. What happened to all the clubs and societies we support? What about all the amazing social events? What about representation and giving students a platform to campaign? After all, we’re run by students, for students – that includes a Community and Welfare Officer, an Education Officer, and Activities and Development Officer and more!”

Question 26 asks students whether “the Student’s Union (association or guild) effectively represents students’ academic interests.” LSESU has done poorly by this measure in recent years, with approximately 36% of students who answered feeling represented in 2018 and 2019. These results are significantly below the benchmark of approximately 54% for both years.

LSESU responded to a request for comment, saying, “Our campaign’s aim is to broaden students’ understanding of LSESU and the work we do. The NSS only asks one question in regards to the Students’ Union, but of course, we have a much bigger function, so it’s important to drive awareness of that as early on as possible.

“In our newsletter campaign, we have asked students to provide the most honest feedback, and if they have any concerns, we want to find a way to address that.”


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