Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Council have this evening voted to mandate the union to support the Cut the Rent campaign, having previously voted not to support the movement last month.
The motion to support the movement was passed by a majority at Council, following a discussion where some members retained their reservations, while others supported the amended motion.
The Cut the Rent group was established in early October and has called for students in Trinity Hall and on-campus accommodation to take part in a rent strike whereby they would withhold the second installment of this year’s rent unless the group’s demands are met.
The motion, which had been amended since the last council meeting to remove reference to protecting student rent strikers, states that TCDSU will “adopt a formal, committed stance in support of the Cut the Rent movement” that will involve “active participation in the campaign and standing with [the group’s] members”.
The motion notes that “the housing crisis severely limits the educational, social, and economic lives of students, and constitutes a block on higher education” and adopts some of the demands of the Cut the Rent campaign, including opposing rent increases on campus and campaigning for subsidised rental accommodation that is affordable and accessible for all students, especially students with disabilities.
The motion was proposed by Michael McGrath who urged the union to “form a coalition” with the Cut the Rent movement in order to “affect real change”.
TCDSU Education Officer Niamh McCay also spoke in favour of the motion saying that the Cut the Rent group “took on board” Council’s concerns with the motion proposed at last council and had “returned with a really solid motion”.
Mature Students Officer Jimi Donohue also spoke in favour of the motion, noting that “the very essence of a union is to stand with its members”.
Last week, the national council of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) voted to support campaigns involving campus accommodation rent strikes. As the national representative body for third level students, the USI has committed to backing student rent strike movements.
The Cut the Rent group within Trinity has spent the past couple of months canvassing students in on-campus accommodation to take part in a rent strike as well as holding a number of public meetings. A protest action took place earlier this month which saw members of the group place a mock eviction notice outside the campus house of Provost Patrick Prendergast as well as outside the Trinity Accommodation Service.