TCDSU call for “concrete assurance” that residents will be able to remain in college accomodation

The union has called on College to provide assurance for those in college accommodation, clarity for international students and “compassion” for first year students

In a tweet this afternoon, Trinity College Dublin’s Students’ Union (TCDSU) has called for a “concrete assurance”  that residents will be allowed stay in college accommodation in the event of a campus lockdown. 

This call for assurance comes as College is expected to send an update to students this afternoon following the introduction of Level 5 restrictions across the country last night. 

In a thread, TCDSU stated that they are asking for “guarantees that students in accommodation will receive refunds if they choose to move home as we’ve seen in other colleges across the country”.

They also demanded that Trinity provide: “Clarity for international students who will be disproportionately affected by lockdown and restrictions, particularly in the areas of fees, travel and exam accommodations for those quarantining after the christmas break.”

The union are also calling for “compassion” for first year students in college accommodation, who, according to them, will be “hardest hit” by the loneliness of isolation. 

TCDSU added that assurances need to be made that if the library closes, that resources must be made available for those who need them; this would include expanded click and collect services, special accommodations for those forced to come to campus for mandatory teaching.

An answer must be provided, the union stated, as to whether student breakout spaces will remain open for those coming onto campus for mandatory labs/lectures. 

“We’re also hoping to see the Government offer financial support to those on mandatory, unpaid placement, disproportionately affected by this pandemic,” they continued. 

Speaking to Trinity News, Philly Holmes, TCDSU Communications Officer said: “Once we saw the College’s Instagram and Twitter about forthcoming communication, we decided to put together this kind of tweet list of expectations we expect to see about accommodations for the new level restrictions. We’re expecting communication from the College presently.”

“This was an opportunity for the SU to be more transparent about what we are actively working on as everything in that list has been something that we’ve actively called for in meetings with officials,” Holmes explained. “We took it as an opportunity to try to hold the college to account publicly.”

“We wanted to remind College of the need to put students first at all times.”

In an expected move last night, the government decided to implement Level 5 restrictions on the country for six weeks, starting from Wednesday night. 

Holmes continued: “We’re hoping to see some of these questions answered, hopefully, in official college communication and anything that doesn’t get answered clearly and concisely we’re going to chase up on as soon as possible.”

“[We’re] demanding really clear answers so that students, again, are put first in all situations as they are people being disproportionately affected by these restrictions. It is not fair on a lot of our students.”

Implications for the higher education sector were not mentioned by the Taoiseach during his address to the country this evening announcing Cabinet’s decision the heightened Covid-19 restrictions, nor are any new guidelines currently provided on the government website for the sector.

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris followed the address with an Instagram livestream, and when asked to comment on the implication of Level 5 restrictions on higher education, he did not immediately respond.

Classes in Arts, Humanities, and Social Science (AHSS) in Trinity have been moved entirely online until at least mid-November. Some laboratory classes for sciences remain in-person as of Monday.

Trinity has not provided communication to students since the government’s announcement.

This article was updated at 15:20 to include a quote from Philly Holmes, TCDSU Communications Officer.

Shannon Connolly

Shannon Connolly is the Editor-in-Chief of the 69th volume Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister student of English Literature and Philosophy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.