LSE Covid Solidarity Campaign - Protect Staff, Support Students

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LSE opened its doors in 1895 with three rooms and 200 students...while much has changed, one thing remains constant: our commitment to original vision of LSE, as ‘a community of people and ideas, founded to know the causes of things, for the betterment of society’.   
LSE Director Minouche Shafik Launching 2030 strategy

LSE’s 2030 strategy states, LSE will:
-       Invest in supporting and developing all our researchers, educators and professional service staff.
-       Invest in the social scientists of the future through more scholarships and enhanced support for PhDs, postdoctoral and early career researchers.
-       Invest in School-wide resources to advance diversity of staff and students and address systemic inequalities

We, staff and students collective at LSE, petition the LSE Council, Court of Governors, Director and School Management Committee with the following:

At this time of global crisis, LSE should protect and support all, especially precarious workers and students as per LSE’s commitment to our community and betterment of society. The significance of our petition is critical given the high levels of casualization and precarity of employment within the UK Higher Education sector as well as the difficulties that many students face in this crisis. The Higher Education Statistics Agency shows that 59% of all LSE academic staff in 2018/19 were on a fixed term contract compared to the 41% academic staff on a permanent contract. We petition that in this time of crisis, LSE must recognise the integral role of every individual in the community who contributes to shaping LSE’s scholarship through cleaning, cooking, administering, securing, facilitating, researching, teaching, learning and so on without whom the university simply would not function. We petition that LSE recognise the needs of all students and protect all workers, both academic and non-academic across the LSE community.

We are petitioning for ethical and responsible planning in response to the Covid-19 pandemic:

1. Ensure no detriment to the pay, scholarship and conditions of the University’s most precarious workers and students by contractually agreeing to the #CoronaContract for all, no matter their contract or visa status. This means securing and extending contracts for all academic and non-academic precarious workers at the university until the Covid-19 crisis is over for a guaranteed minimum of 2 years.

2. If in this time of crisis, financial cuts and sacrifices have to be made, then that should be taken across the LSE community starting at the top, instead of redundancies and cuts. We cannot throw the most precarious off the dock – the academic colleagues who will most likely get pushed out of the academic sector, the non-academic colleagues who will face increasing uncertainty, and the students who will struggle to complete without funding. It is worth remembering that this majority work alongside the permanent staff to build LSE’s academic prestige, reputation and scholarship.

3. End all attendance-monitoring practices for international students and staff. Following this period of crisis, commit to opposing the hostile environment in Higher Education through implementing a humane interpretation of Home Office guidance, and lobbying the government to end the hostile environment policies. Support international students and staff in applications and fees for visa extensions and other issues that might arise through, or be amplified by, this current crisis.

4. We ask that all major decisions taken by the SMC in response to the present crisis - including on furlough, voluntary severance schemes and protocols for remote working - take place transparently and in full and open consultation with Council, the campus Trade Unions and the Students' Union. Any decision taken must stand up to robust scrutiny from an equalities perspective and center the interests of precarious workers and students in LSE community.

We firmly believe and petition that adherence to these four points will be befitting of LSE’s values and original commitments, 2030 strategy and statements by Director, Minouche Shafik, and members of the Senior Management Committee, about the importance of coming together as a community in this moment of precarity and crisis.

More details of our campaign at https://lsecovidsolidarity.wordpress.com

The LSE Covid Solidarity Campaign
lsecovidsolidarity@gmail.com