LSU Releases Statement on Johnson Visit

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Matt Youngs – President of Loughborough Students’ Union, has released a statement following the controversial decision to pose for a photo with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the 26th August.

Loughborough Students’ Union has come under fire on social media for their decision to welcome him to campus and pose for a photo with Mr. Johnson.

Mr. Youngs mentioned that he and the Union Executive met with the Prime Minister and started discussions on “key issues facing the Higher Education sector. These included: wellbeing support for students returning to campus following the COVID-19 pandemic; the Black Lives Matter movement; academic misconduct and the current legality of essay mills as well as the current government’s stance on niche activism.”

Many students however, are concerned that the Students’ Union used the Prime Minister’s visit as nothing more than a “fancy photo op” for the Executive, and are less outraged by the act of meeting the Prime Minister, but by the blasé way that Loughborough Students’ Union promoted the interaction in the first place, with one student commending the statement by Mr. Youngs, but stating that “in my opinion, it should never have been a follow up statement, it should have been part of the initial exposure and at the heart of the message first sent out. I’m glad the clarifications have been made…”

Mr. Youngs also added that the Union Executive have since written a letter to Mr. Johnson with the goal to open a dialogue on…

  • “Essay mill companies made illegal – significantly reducing the chance of students being exploited and more susceptible to charges of academic misconduct;
  • Increased funding for services to support students’ wellbeing as they return to a post-COVID campus;
  • Black Lives Matter: the government to reconsider its stance in the sending of rubber bullets and riot equipment to support police responses in the USA.”

Richard Taylor – Chief Operations Officer of Loughborough University, has also commented on the visit by the Prime Minister, stating that it “was an opportunity (which was taken) for the VC to raise Brexit impact, international mobility, research funding and widening participation directly with the PM”, and wasn’t just a visit to the Students’ Union – which has taken the brunt of the criticism.

Loughborough University has already begun to make strides in the Higher Education response to Coronavirus, and it has been cited that this is the reason Mr. Johnson visited campus on the 26th August.

The Vice Chancellor has also commented on the visit, saying that  “I was pleased to be able to show the Prime Minister the incredible research that takes place here. It also provided me with an opportunity to remind those in Government how policy impacts on us here at Loughborough.”

Cover photo by Loughborough Students’ Union / Ryan Onions

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