In his induction address to new students on Wednesday 1 October, the Director, Howard Davies, made the following points:
1) LSE is now a highly international school, with students from 150 countries, 70 per cent of whom are from outside the UK. That is the first major advantage of studying here. Students can learn an enormous amount from each other.
2) The second key strength of the School is its resources, and particularly the new library, which is perhaps the best social science library in the world.
3) The third key strength is the teaching staff. LSE believes in maintaining a strong link between research and teaching, so many of the people teaching both undergraduates and graduates are at the leading edge in their chosen discipline. Overall, the School is ranked second for research excellence among universities in the UK.
4) It follows from the international nature of the School that students will meet people with very different opinions on, and attitudes to world events. The School is both a melting pot and a crucible in which the big issues of the day are hammered out. It is good that that should be so, and we would be disappointed if it were not. But we must debate in a tolerant spirit, and with respect for each other, and for different views. There is no place for violence in the School community, nor for prejudice or discrimination, or derogatory remarks on the grounds of race, faith, gender or age.
5) The School has a strong commitment to diversity and to providing a good environment for students with disabilities. There has been a considerable investment in facilities for disabled students in recent years.
6) That investment has been part of a significant programme to enhance the School's estate. In terms of location, LSE has one big strength, and one drawback. The big strength is its position in central London - an exciting and lively place in which to live and work. Its drawback is its location in central London, which is a congested and expensive place in which to live and work. The School has done its best to enhance the campus environment, but there is considerably more to do.
7) We encourage students to make full use of the School's facilities, including those on offer from the Students' Union. The environment is one in which we expect people to work hard, play hard and enjoy themselves.
Lastly, and consistent with the School's reputation for informality, he explained that he would like to be addressed simply as Howard, by all members of the school community.
6 October 2003