The ruling body of the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway), Údarás na hOllscoile, have called on the university’s accommodation provider, Atalia Ltd, to reverse a proposed rent hike of 4% to on-campus accommodation.
Speaking to Trinity News, NUI Galway Students’ Union (NUIGSU) President, Clare Austick, said that the union had been “outraged and frustrated” by the proposed increase, stating that the union “won’t give up until it is reversed” and are “committed and persistent”.
The decision of NUI Galway’s ruling body to call for a reversal of the rent increases follows several days of protest, led by NUGSU, which saw students occupy the College’s quad in tents and launch an online petition which now has over 2,000 signatures.
NUIGSU also sent letters and held phone calls with members of the university’s ruling body, which they say were successful in gaining the support of Údarás members.
A letter was sent yesterday from Údarás to the board of Atalia Ltd, expressing disapproval at the rent increases.
The union is due to hold a joint meeting with the president of the University and Atalia Ltd next Wednesday, with the union saying they will resume their occupation of the college quad from Monday, having temporarily suspended the protest due to weather warnings.
Clare Austick told Trinity News that while Údarás do not have the power to overturn the decision, they could have a “strong influence in trying to get the decision reversed”.
Austick added that she was feeling “quite hopeful”, but that the union would continue to lobby and protest.
The proposed rent increase of 4% is the maximum allowed under new rent cap legislation.
Similar rent hikes for the next academic year have been proposed by colleges across Ireland, causing student unions to mobilise in opposition.
Trinity’s finance committee are expected to consider a 4% hike, proposed by College’s Commercial Revenue Unit, described by Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President, Laura Beston, as “unacceptable and extortionate”.
On Thursday, students in Trinity held a protest in Front Square, blocking the main entrance to College and chanting “Raise the roof, not the rent”, and “Cut the rent, freeze the rent”.