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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31 Number 16 July 16, 1968

Student Influence Sought In London Too

Student Influence Sought In London Too

Victoria is not alone in fighting for student representation on university administrative committees—at London School of Economics too the door is only just beginning to swing open to admit students.

Discussions about student participation in LSE's administration began three years ago. Only in March of last year, though, was a machinery of government committee set up to examine the fundamental structure of the School. And it was even later in the year when five student representatives were finally admitted.

The committee's first report (his year has proposed that students be admitted, to the three committees directly involved in the running of the School. These are: —

• The Group—the legal entity of the School, whose suggested membership would be 8 student members, 12 academics, and about 40 members of "society"—trade unions, other universities, the professions, comprehensive and grammar schools, the theatre;

• The Council—responsible for the administration of the School, with a composition of 3 student members, and 21 representatives from other start-run bodies suggested;

• The Senate—the authority controlling all academic matters at has membership of 50. to which only 5 students are added in the committee's proposals.

On this basis, students would have some representation on all committees, except for those handling personnel appointments and setting academic standards.

Proposals that students should serve merely as members of the three major administrative bodies, not mandatory delegates, and so not responsible directly to any student body, has met with serve criticism from students.

A reform commission has suggested a real leap in the dark—making the Union meeting chairman independent, with no speaking rights, holding office for only one term. There would be no executive and no president. An open committee would initiate policy, a general meeting make it, and committees and the general secretary implement it. If this were put into practice, LSE would be unique in the country—and perhaps the world.

If all the envisaged reforms in administration eventuate, will students really"have the power to reverse administrative decisions, or will they be utterly powerless in the lace of the non-student majorities on the governing bodies? The Senate, under the new scheme, is still heavily weighted with professors, and as it has been awarded increased governing power, its present oligarchic tendencies will not be reduced.

It is generally agreed that more student participation in university affairs would secure student staff co-operation, so Strengthening the 'unity' of the School. It would make information on the School's activities, resource limitations and priorities more readily available But others feel that this system would make heavy demands on the time and efforts of the students involved in representing fellow students in the adminisration.

However the machinery of government report is at present simply a "declaration of interest and altitude".