Being born, and living in London I spent the first eighteen years of my life assuming that everyone was pro-choice, the choice being whether or not to have children. I took the provision of abortion as a healthcare right for granted, as it had always been available to me, and I assumed that was the case in the rest of the United Kingdom. I was wrong.
When I chose to study at LSE I anticipated vibrant debate and a rainbow of political ideologies, all coming together to discuss our different beliefs (in a respectful way of course). But sadly this is not the case, oh no, any chance of alternative, perhaps controversial opinions are nipped well and truly in the bud, before any spark of discussion can rear its head; anything outside of the status quo seems to come with a trigger warning and offence is taken left, right and centre.
Why is a creative degree a lesser alternative? Why are creative careers seen as so risky? Why are we so fearful as a society that we end up telling gifted artists to become bankers?
It is important to realise that whilst the subject coverage and balance of teaching and research may vary across universities, there is much that is common across institutions that have been awarded university title.
By the logic of employability, you don't have a job because something is wrong with you. You do not live up to the requirements. You're not the kind of person they want to employ. You do not supply what the labour market demands.
There is an important yet depressingly polarised debate raging across university campuses on both sides of the Atlantic at the moment. It concerns a plethora of policies ranging from no-platforming certain groups and speakers, banning certain university societies, demanding trigger warnings for a range of issues in lectures and in general extending the philosophy of safe spaces and the reverence of personal feelings into general university life.
It is a well known fact that the human brain has the ability to make an assessment about someone within the first three seconds of a meeting. Most of the time this happens without us being aware of that. People living amongst large number of other human beings, some of whom are far from nice and pleasant, have to be able to do so as a matter of survival.
For me the debate about whether the statue of Cecil Rhodes at Oriel College, Oxford should be removed encapsulates the crux of the debate and whilst many recognise that there are things to be commended in the arguments made on both sides I find myself agreeing with both sides, at the same time.
Scrapping maintenance grants is a desperate attempt by Osborne to find savings wherever he can because as a Chancellor he has failed consistently to meet any target he has ever set himself. This proposed saving of £1.57billion is a drop in the ocean compared to our £1.5trillion worth of debt that has increased under Osborne's time as Chancellor. Again Osborne has pound signs in his eyes with no idea of the actual worth.
Many students come to university interested in understanding and changing the world. Once, student politics provided an outlet for that burgeoning, history-making impulse. But this kind of petty SU authoritarianism stifles that spirit. Argument, forthright disagreement and trying to win people over are the essence of politics. But in the ban-happy world of the SU debate isn't just dodged, it's seen as dangerous.
Of course we must protect freedom of speech. But this should not be at the expense of students' wellbeing and safety, and it should never mean an open invite to those who do not believe in democracy itself.
As you may be aware, I have engaged lawyers who are currently looking at whether this change can be challenged legally. Yet this is just as much a moral issue as a legal one. A retrospective change will destroy any trust current and future generations can have in the student finance system, and perhaps, even more widely, in the political system as a whole.
Today the government has pushed ahead with its plans to scrap maintenance grants for the poorest students. By moving to force through these changes from behind closed doors and avoiding a real debate in parliament, George Osborne is ignoring the very real concerns of students.
Student nurses are not asking for special treatment. We are asking for fair treatment, something that has not been granted to our registered counterparts... Thank you, Mr Osborne, for mobilising this demoralised workforce, and reminding us to care about ourselves as much as we do our patients.
The most important question that must be asked on this subject is, where will it stop? If Rhodes's statue is taken down, then surely others must go? Perhaps the numerous statues of Winston Churchill that exist around the country should be taken down?
I know from my own experience that universities and higher education transform the lives of individuals and shape our society for the better. In addition, with 130 higher education institutions in England, and revenues of £23.3 billion, 262,700 members of staff and two million students, universities are also powerhouses for economic growth in their own right.