On the 1 July, Cecilia Skoug and Linnea Jacobsson will assume the roles of President and Vice-President for Lund University Student Unions Association (Lus). Lundagård has met with Lus’ new presidium to, among other things, talk about education policy and how they will ensure a critical viewpoint towards the University.
“We have been presiding various unions at various times and can, therefore, complement each other well. We are not here to run our own, personal agenda, but rather it’s up to the unions to decide what we will be working with”, says Cecilia Skoug, previously President of Medicinska Föreningen and soon to be President of Lus.
The Vice-President will be Linnea Jacobsson, who is currently Chairperson of the Social Sciences Student Union. They both have a long experience of working in unions and believe that commitment and presidency experience have helped them land the assignments.
“We have been given this confidence because we have been driven and involved in common student issues in the last years”, Linnea Jacobsson says.
Quality insurance and resource allotment
Important education policy issues for Linnea Jacobsson are changing the system of resource allotment, working with the municipality concerning the housing issue, and how to work towards broadening recruitment at the University.
“In order to insure a quality education, it’s important to listen to the students who actually take part in the education. Doing so, you have to look at contents as well as invest in university pedagogy and support side activities such as Student Health and support for academic writing. It’s also important to strengthen and clarify course syllabi”, Linnea Jacobsson says.
She is of the opinion that the resource allotment system, at its core, is a national issue, and as Lus’ presidium, they can raise the issue with the University so that it can be brought forward.
“Our task is to create opinion and an understanding for how the amount of contact hours and all parts of the education is based on what basic cost your education has”, Linnea Jacobsson says.
“I don’t really have an answer for how to broaden recruitment, but it is important, and especially at older, “prestigious” universities that often have problems broadening certain groups”, Linnea Jacobsson continues.
The three most important education policy issues for Cecilia Skoug are quality insurance, student rights and student influence.
“Everything is connected and is basically about having a good quality education and how to achieve that”, Cecilia Skoug says.
An overproduction of students
Lund University has an overproduction of students, with a lot of applicants but few places. This week, the Faculty of Science reported that they want to cut down their amount of study places. It is an issue of disparate opinions, and it is hard to reach a solution, according to Cecilia Skoug and Linnea Jacobsson.
“It is difficult to reach an agreement since all faculties have different conditions, but I believe that you have to agree on overproduction not being good for the individual student. You educate students for a smaller amount of money for each student. As for how to solve it, well, that is a great question”, Cecilia Skoug says.
Linnea Jacobsson adds:
“We have talked about this in Ordförandekollegiet during the year, and now, there is a work group trying to reach a solutions, but it is difficult.”
Wants to prioritise the issue of equality
Cecilia Skoug has previously said that it is important to work with the issue of equality. She says that during the time she has been on the University Board, equality is something that has been heavily discussed.
“I have had fewer than five female course leaders, and that gives an idea of what our expectations are for the future. There are too few role models in the classroom. What happens to me then if I want to remain?” she says.
But Cecilia Skoug does not know how a solution might look.
“I have no solution to the problem, but it is important to look at this culture and to understand why it is worse at some institutions than others”, Cecilia Skoug says.
A critical inspection counterpart
Earlier, there has been criticism towards Lus’ management for seeing the University as a collaboration partner rather than a critical inspection counterpart, and there are examples of previous Presidents at Lus making a career within the University after their presidency.
How will you ensure that you have a critical standpoint towards what the University does?
“We are here to give criticism. Positive as well as negative. I have no plans on making a career within that part of the University, and that is why it won’t be a problem”, Cecilia Skoug says.
Linnea Jacobsson continues, saying that she sees this as one of her main duties as a student representative.
“I believe that during this last year, the unions and Lus have been clear on the fact that the unions are not in someone’s lap. I also don’t have any plans on making a career within the University.”
A few months ago, Lus worked out a syllabus for the Vice-Chancellor and the Pro Vice-Chancellor, which can be seen as a checklist from the students. They believe that it is important to remind the chancellors of the checklist, but also to keep it alive and continually update it.
“It is important that there is a will to lead the University collegially together with the groups that are active at the University”, Linnea Jacobsson says.
What do you think about the current chancellors’ possibilities to meet the demands?
“It is always difficult to meet demands, but what is important is that there is a will to work from that syllabus”, Cecilia Skoug says.
“I feel that we’ve had a good start”, Linnea Jacobsson says.
A more transparent Karnevalsorgan
Last year, there was a lot of criticism directed at the carnival statutes and Cecilia Skoug, who brought together the reference group handling communication between the carnival committee and the Karnevalsorganet. Thus far, no new statute proposal has been accepted.
“It wasn’t criticism as much as it was the statutes not following the development and remaining unrevised for so long. They have been revised now and have been on referral, and the main difference is that the statutes will be more clear and transparent now, so that the student know how to apply to a certain position, for example”, Cecilia Skoug says.
An open-minded Ordförandekollegie
Linnea Jacobsson and Cecilia Skoug keep coming back to the fact that all unions have different resources, but that it is important for all unions to have the same conditions in Ordförandekollegiet, where union representatives hold meetings and, among other things, have discussions leading up to elections. They hold that it is important with an open-minded atmosphere when common student issues are being discussed, in order to reach joint standpoints.
“There can be different wills in Ordförandekollegiet, but that is all right. We have to talk to each other about what atmosphere we want”, Linnea Jacobsson says.
“Everyone should have an equal opportunity for opinions, including unions with less resources. There has to be room for a ‘wrong’ opinion, and then being able to return saying that ‘I have changed my mind on this issue’”, Cecilia Skoug adds.
Communication important for a good cooperation
It has previously been shown that full time student representatives have a large workload. In addition, several positions at Lus have not yet been filled, which puts the presidium in a stressful place. Cecilia Skoug and Linnea Jacobsson believe that communication is important to make a year of close cooperation work well.
“It is important to support each other and to be attentive. I don’t believe that either of us seeks conflict”, Cecilia Skoug says.
“I have learnt to cope with stress before and have always had a lot of things going on at once. But when I go home to Malmö, I relax”, Linnea Jacobsson says.
Do you fear conflict?
“Sometimes, yes. I don’t like personal conflicts, but I have no problems dealing with professional ones”, Cecilia Skoug says.
“I think I work the same way, if you are of different political opinions, I don’t mind a bit of discussion”, Linnea Jacobsson says.
What do you look forward to the most for this year as Lus’ presidium?
“To fully focusing on education policy and student policy”, Cecilia Skoug says.
“To have more time for actual issues, to be allowed to contribute with experience and to support the unions”, Linnea Jacobsson says.
- Does: Studies her last year at the Biomedicine programme. Is student representative on the University Board. Incoming Lus President.
- Date of birth: 22 November, 1988
- Birthplace: Kvidinge, Kristianstad County.
- Votes for: the Swedish Social Democratic Party
- Lives at: Södra Esplanaden in Lund. Has previously lived at Onsjögatan in Lund, in Kristianstad and Hanaskog.
- Total amount of university credits: 213
- Amount of credits at Lund University: 149,5
- Education: College education at Kristianstad University, free courses at Malmö University, the Biomedicine programme at Lund University, one exchange term in the Netherlands at Utrecht University, a summer course at Uppsala University.
- Current student debt: 218 570 SEK
- Taxable income 2013: 113 100 SEK
- Taxable income 2014: 83 600 SEK
- Vehicles: No vehicles registered at Transportstyrelsen
- Twitter: @ceciliaskoug
- Instagram: @cissiskoug
- A selection of Facebook likes and groups: Together for the 22 March 2015 – for a Sweden free from SD*, OnlyPeriod*, Maria Montazami, Hanaskog’s IS – The Pride of Östra Göinge*, The Future Contains Cool Handball Girls*.
- Hobbies: Keeping up with the handball team in Kristianstad, watching TV-series, drinking wine, and hanging out with friends.
- On being on the Lus presidium: “It will be fun, exciting and developing. It is a new role, but one I still have quite much previous knowledge of.”
- Other: Has worked for the kitchen department of IKEA’s customer department and knows how to make a broken dishwasher work.
- Does: Chairperson of the Social Sciences Student Union. Representing the Swedish Social Democratic Party in the elementary school board until 2019. Incoming Lus Vice-President.
- Date of birth: 9 March, 1990
- Birthplace: Tumba, Stockholm
- Lives in: Malmö. Has previously lived in Uttran, Norsborg and Tumba.
- Votes for: the Swedish Social Democratic Party
- Total amount of university credits: 144
- Amount of credits at Lund University: 114
- Education: 30 credits history at Stockholm University, 30 credits advanced history at Lund University, 60 credits political science at Lund University, internet based introductory course to law
- Current student debt: 175 011 SEK
- Taxable income 2013: 0 SEK
- Taxable income 2014: 0 SEK
- Vehicles: No vehicles registered at Transportstyrelsen
- Twitter: @felidaes
- Instagram: @kattlivet
- A selection of Facebook likes and groups: Palestine Ultimate Frisbee. Working an hour for Africa*, We who like looking at pictures of Reinfeldt in a helmet*, Campaign to save energy for the common good*, Leslie Knope, The Lion at Gripsholm’s Castle*.
- Hobbies: Reading, keeping a diary, drinking wine and hanging out with friends.
- On being on the Lus presidium: “It will be cool working with education policy to such a large extent”
- Other: Have always been, and is still, keeping a diary.
* these Facebook group names have been translated
Text: Camilla Göth
Translation: Carl-William Ersgård