Following his convincing win in Thursday’s student elections, a less-than-reticent Naveed Kabir, the LSE’s new Activities and Development Officer, announced in his acceptance speech that: “I’m not grateful for the victory because we deserved it”. After a strong campaign and a bold raft of promises, Mr. Kabir may be correct in thinking his win came naturally. There are two main reasons he should not let his victory lull him into thinking governing will be comparably effortless.
The first is that his remit is one of the broadest of any position. Not only does the role cover the LSE’s myriad sporting teams but all of its societies, RAG, the uni’s charitable arm, publications like Clare Market Review, and other media like PULSE radio, LOOSE TV and even the Beaver! Mr. Kabir has won the tough task of balancing the expectations of all the sport/society execs expecting reform while simultaneously providing his General Secretary, Zulum Elumogo, with the support he will need to carry out the role of managing LSE’s entire student life. Given the difficulties many societies, sports clubs and their members have expressed over the past year in SU governance, this is clearly not a task to be underestimated.
The second is that, contrary to what election night seemed to suggest, he will be in charge of all the parties who refused to endorse him, including the several dozen who chose to endorse his rival. During his acceptance speech in The Venue, Mr. Kabir laughed that while he “would never forget those who helped [him]”, he might “forget the ones who didn’t”. While it was clear he was joking, to let even a sliver of this sort of thinking affect his calculus would be a disaster. Allowing vibrant and important societies like Debate and Pride, and sports like Athletics and Women’s Rugby to go to the wayside because they thought the incumbent, Megan Beddoe, was doing well enough would imperil the university’s collegiality and only serve to further factionalise and divide the uni’s students.
As a committed and effective president of the LSE Boxing, the university’s largest sports club, Mr. Kabir has much to recommend himself to the role of A&D president. Moreover, as a skilled boxer himself, he clearly understands the importance of patience, determination and grit – all vital for the role. One simply hopes that his comments made on Thursday don’t suggest him to be too much of a neo…phyte.