Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) has passed a motion calling for the introduction of accommodations for students with full or part-time jobs.
With the passing of the motion, the union is now mandated to advocate for the introduction of measures such as a “working student status” for students working over a certain number of hours, which could be considered when students are applying for extensions or exemptions.
The motion noted that students who must participate in part or full time work during the college year face additional struggles, and that the “lack of concrete supports available in college to support these students when facing difficulties balancing these commitments with academic work”.
Proposing the motion, Law convenor Rebecca Kelly said that this “disproportionately affects access students and mature students”.
The motion acknowledged that “some students, such as student-parents, access students, mature students, are disproportionately affected by this problem”.
Council also acknowledged that these students “do not have the option of reducing their work hours or quitting completely out of financial necessity”.
The motion also stated that College should have “adequate accommodations” in place to support these students.
Speaking to Trinity News before Council this evening, Kelly said: “A lot of faculties in Trinity haven’t adopted a very compassionate approach to providing supports for students who must work during term time out of necessity.”
“I’ve heard stories about extension requests being denied when the nature of the request was pertaining to being overwhelmed by college and work schedules, as well as being advised by tutors to stop working/ reduce work hours if this is the case as College should be a priority,” Kelly continued.
“This simply isn’t possible for a lot of students and disproportionately affects access students, student parents and mature students. I think we would all rather not work while in College and have the means to focus primarily on our studies but that simply isn’t the reality of things.”
Kelly explained: “Ideally, it would be great to see school convenors working with their heads of school to identify these issues, try and implement the policy on a school-by-school basis where possible and work closely with their faculty convenors who can relay this information on to the relevant people and hopefully strive towards achieving a College-wide policy on the matter.”
TCDSU Council took place over Zoom this evening, as it has for all Council meetings throughout this academic year.
Additional reporting by Audrey Brown, Kate Glen, Bonnie Gill, Connie Roughan and Lauren Boland.