United Kingdom

LSE students demand university bans all private school students

A group of activists at London School of Economics have released a radical manifesto calling for the university to ban all private school students.

LSE Class War demanded the institution becomes 'gradually' free from anyone educated at an independent school.

The students, which a source at the university said was just a handful, released a list of demands on Sunday.

They said bosses must eradicate a student society to the free market economist Friedrich Hayek because it is 'oppressive to the working class'.

LSE Class War backed no platforming speakers it claims 'are harmful to marginalised students'.

And it said the university has to bring in minority quotas for staff, saying there is only one full time black professor there.

But their claims were met with an immediate backlash, with Richard Holden MP - an LSE alumni - among those hitting out at the group.

LSE Class War demanded the institution becomes 'gradually' free from anyone educated at an independent school

 The students, which a source at the university said was just a handful, released a list of demands on Sunday

Nobel Prize-winning British economist: Who was Friedrich Hayek?

Friedrich Hayek was an Austrian-born British economist who is one of the most notable of all time.

He fought in the First World War before studying law in Vienna before taking a trip to the LSE in Britain.

He gave four lectures on monetary economics in 1931 and was invited to teach there.

The next year he was the Tooke Professor of Economic Science and Statistics and remained in the post until 1950.

Friedrich Hayek was an Austrian-born British economist who is one of the most notable of all time

He often clashed with the Cambridge academic John Maynard Keynes over their theories about the role and effect of money in a developed economy.

They critiqued each others' books and were also attacked by other economists.

In 1950 Hayek left LSE to take up a post at the University of Chicago in the US, where he remained for 12 years.

He returned to Europe in 1962 to work at University of Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, until he retired in 1968.

The top economist then received an honorary professorship at the University of Salzburg in Austria.

His Nobel Prize in economics was was received in 1974. He died in 1992. 

LSE Class War's manifesto is made up of eight demands and was released on Sunday, nearly a month after its Instagram was created.

It says: '1. Install a David Graeber lecture series, to celebrate the life of the revered professor.'

Mr Graeber was a left-wing academic and anarchist activist who died last September aged 59.

It continues: '2. Decolonise LSE. We support the decolonisation of LSE, and wish to see BAME quotas for the hiring of academics. There is currently only one full time black professor at LSE.

'3. A private school free LSE. We wish to see LSE to gradually become a private school free institution. 1 in 3 (home) students come from fee paying schools.

'4. The dissolution of HayekSoc and all other societies that call for the oppression of working class people from the LSESU.

'We believe in a no platforming policy for those who discuss ideas which promote ideologies that are harmful to marginalised students.

'LSESU HayekSoc promotes free market fundamentalist views which outwardly call for the oppression of working class people.

'These kind of views have no place on campus. We also want other societies that promote these views, to also be dissolved from the LSESU.

'5. Financial integrity at LSE. We wish for more financial transparency at LSE. We want a look into investments that LSE holds.

'We also want a review into the LSE Directors salary, which is currently at £434,000 per year.'

'6. Pay all workers a fair wage and not to be on zero hour contracts. We want all workers at LSE to be on London Living Wages and for the abolition of all zero hour contracts that LSE currently employs.

'7. More financial and pastoral support for young carers. Students, who are also carers, have a double work burden.

'We want LSE to offer bursaries to these students, alongside 1 to 1 and other pastoral support.

'8. Remove social mobility from the LSESU working class and social mobility officer title. LSE Class War is opposed to the concept of ''social mobility''.

'As we have noted before, social mobility means that only a few of the working class can transcend their class position. We want all working class people to rise together.'

The statement on its Instagram, which has just 150 followers, was roundly condemned online.

Tory MP Mr Holden tweeted: 'Oh dear… I fear ''LSE Class War'' will not be best pleased then by the presence of an @LSEnews graduate on the @HouseofCommons Bill Committee for the: Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill Diddums…'

 The statement on its Instagram, which has just 150 followers, was roundly condemned online

It said in a statement: 'It is the view of the society, as of the thinkers inspiring the society, that economic, political and cultural liberties drive individuals to lead better lives regardless of class.

'We are further alarmed by the crude assumption of the movement to suggest that working class individuals cannot excel without help, implying that working class citizens are somehow dumber and less capable.

'We would like to take this opportunity to dispel the inaccurate myths put out by the movement and encourage them to attend their classes to understand how free markets work.

'Our rational role in economics and society played a key role in alleviating poverty in the late part of the 20th century and was responsible for driving historic economic growth coupled with greater extension of individual liberties and cultural freedom.

'It's a shame we were not contacted before these claims were published online, which further show the lack of integrity and smear campaigns used by this illegitimate movement, rather than pursuing arguments driven by reason and rationality.'

HayekSoc said it wanted to reassure followers LSE Class War was not an official university entity despite it using the institution's logos.

Toby Young, General Secretary of the Free Speech Union, told MailOnline: 'The statements of LSE Class War read like the work of a satirist.

'Do a group of upper-middle class students at one of Britain's most exclusive universities really want to wage war against posh people?

'Or is this a prank designed to take the Mickey out of privately-educated student activists?

'Unfortunately, we know from experience that student demands that should be treated as a joke are taken deadly seriously by those in authority, so the Free Speech Union stands ready to defend the Hayek Society if there's any move to ban it.

'Universities should be places where students are exposed to a broad range of different ideas, not a woke echo chamber.'

A spokesman for LSE said: 'Academic freedom and freedom of expression underpin everything we do at LSE.

'Students and staff are strongly encouraged to discuss and debate the most pressing issues around the world in a mutually respectful manner.

'This is formalised in our Code of Practice on Free Speech.

'The LSESU Hayek Society is one of over 200 societies at LSE open to students who wish to come together to explore and share common interests.'

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