The first Staff-Student Liaison Committee (SSLC) Congress of 2018 took place on 22 January at The Venue. The event was led by SU education officer Esohe Uwadiae.
After some welcoming remarks, Esohe Uwadiae opened the floor to a debate on political correctness, which also included the question of equal tuition fees. Representatives debated the possible trade-off between quality assurance and egalitarian access to tuition. Some argued that expensive tuition enforces further social segregation and therefore undermines the right to education, especially for students from countries where inequality is larger than in the United Kingdom. Attendants also discussed UK-visa procedures for citizens of non-Commonwealth countries, students called for slimming down the process to ensure easier accessibility to the UK.
Attendees also discussed decolonizing the LSE’s curriculum. The debate was set off with a quote by the postcolonial and literary theorist Edward Said. According to Said, there is a responsibility to continuously and critically question what one is surrounded with. Representatives emphasized the importance of an intersectional approach towards rethinking the contents of their studies. There was special focus on widening the scope of literature concerning history, in order to prevent (or revert) the “writing-off” of non-western thought and approaches.
Landry Kaboe, representative of the African development department argued that “there is an imperative to include more African scholars and voices of local institutions to challenge the mainstream narrative, to critically engage in the challenges Africa faces and debate different theoretical perspectives. It is indispensable to increase the number of professors from this part of the world to provide us with insights on social issues and reflect critically on them.” Representatives from different departments are now planning to future meetings to continue to discuss the issue.
The evening was dominated by questions regarding the effectiveness of the SSLC. Some representatives questioned LSE’s receptiveness to feedback. Representatives from the Law department have collected a list of issues from the past five years which have been handed down from previous representatives to ensure sustainable improvement. Representatives from other departments showed interest in implementing this practice. In order to ensure an enhanced exchange between staff and students, newly elected representatives will be able to join faculty meetings in the near future.