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The entire situation regarding the hiring of The Venue has highlighted issues with the way that the Union handles the AU and students more generally. Student satisfaction is well below the Russell Group average and currently the emphasis is on the School itself to implement changes. However, the hiring out of the Venue on a Wednesday night highlights the fact that the SU need to also look inward to solve the problem. I completely understand the need for the Union to hire out the venue, this revenue feeds back into Clubs & Societies and provides invaluable funds for them to continue doing the amazing work that they do. However, this strive to raise funds should not come at the expense of the student experience. The Wednesday sports night is a big part of the LSE Student experience, and this isn’t me as a Sportsman trumpeting its importance, there is only one other time of the week that such a large amount of LSE Students come together and socialise and that’s Saucy (and that’s a tenuous link). You would therefore think that Wednesday nights would be “protected time” and reserved just for LSE Students. Well think again! Regardless of whether it’s a special AU event night or not, the Union should have the AU as their first priority on Wednesday nights in the Venue. Would they rather a sustained stream of revenue from the AU coming every week (bar team dinners) to the Venue, or a patchy revenue stream from the AU only coming to the Venue for these event nights?
The second point I’d like to raise is the nature of the relationship between the Union and our elected Part Time Officers. With the nature of our PTOs being ‘volunteers’ (despite them now being paid for four hours of work a week), the burden is on the SU to assist them and help fix problems that arise as a result of the work of the PTO. However, in this situation, what we have seen is a PTO having to fix a problem that has originated with the SU. This is not the way the relationship between an organisation and their ‘volunteer’ is supposed to work. If reports are to be believed, it seems as if the SU have actively hindered a PTO led objective (to get a more inclusive AU tour), and this needs to be taken and looked into very seriously.