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UGM Asks for Student Input in Democracy Reform

The LSESU held a Union General Meeting last Thursday evening in the Saw Swee Hock Centre. In addition to regular updates on LSESU-driven initiatives, the UGM was advertised to be the started of an initiative titled “The Rebuild,”. This aims to buck the nationwide trend of decreased participation in student politics, as well as reorganize a student union which has been described as “largely unchanged”since its founding. Following with the suspension of monthly UGMs last year and the promise of democracy reform, the page for the event on the LSESU website read: “We’re rewriting the rulebook to bring LSESU into 2019 but we can’t do it without you.”Despite this promise, the meeting was not especially widely attended.

 

Promises, aims and initiatives for the upcoming year

The LSESU General Secretary and Part-time Officers informed the audience of a number of achievements, such as: publishing annual accounts and trustee board minutes for transparency and success in RAG fundraising.

There are also  a number of initiatives currently underway, such as:

  • a new events committee,
  • implementing more training for LSE administration,
  • increasing awareness of resources for international students and students that may be victims of racism,
  • drop-in hours and events organized by the anti-racist and LGBT+ officers,
  • free menstrual cups
  • mandatory consent workshops for all incoming students,

 

The Rebuild Project

The Rebuild Project consisted of some data collection booths to consider how the LSESU may reform itself. Once accepted, a ballot paper was handed to all audience members nominating part-time officers, as well as giving the option to suggest new officer positions for underrepresented student populations. One individual stood for the position of UGM Vice Chair. In another project , participants used a tally chart to determine whether they prefer elected representatives or student juries to vote on motions and/or inquorate motions (a common circumstance in UGMs). In a similar fashion, another tally chart asked whether students preferred updates from their representatives once per term or monthly.

 

Why was this meeting held?

The meeting arrives within a larger LSE-wide context of low student satisfaction rates. In July it was revealed  that student satisfaction had dropped for the seventh consecutive year. A post by LSESU declared that “LSE students cannot be swayed by superfluous gestures [like student trips or free beverages at the library],” and “LSE cannot rely on its reputation forever; it must innovate to survive.”

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