Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) have issued an open letter to College demanding the provision of teaching material online for students who cannot find accommodation in Dublin before the start of term.
The letter, signed by the president, welfare officer and education officer of TCDSU, notes “an overwhelming increase in students” contacting the students’ union without somewhere to live for the coming term.
It continues that while TCDSU continues to offer advice and information to students, “there is only so much we can do when there is next to no accommodation available in the city”.
“We now see an alarmingly high number of students looking to drop-out, defer,commute long distances or arrive in Dublin homeless.”
“This is a crisis that has been building for many years over time, but it has reached a head,” the letter adds.
It calls on College to address the crisis of accommodation affecting students: “I therefore ask the College to offer students the opportunity to engage in hybrid learning if they cannot physically attend — ensuring that they have the option of in-person or online teaching.”
“The Trinity Covid-19 contingency plan notes the need for hybrid learning in instances where students contract Covid. This must be urgently expanded to accommodate the hundreds, if not thousands, of students facing the choice of abandoning their Trinity education or facing homelessness during their studies.”
The letter notes that hybrid learning is a temporary solution only and also calls on College to make efforts to increase the availability of affordable accommodation to students.
“We understand that hybrid learning isn’t the solution to the housing crisis. It will result in many students being isolated from the Trinity experience and excluded from the vibrant life on campus. However, the College has a duty of care to its students, and they need immediate support to continue their studies.”
The letter concludes: “Trinity College must engage on a local and national level to bring down rents and increase the availability of safe, secure student accommodation. Learning is impossible if you don’t have a roof over your head. Equally, quality teaching is impossible if you don’t have a roof over your head. The housing crisis is far-reaching and impacts students as well as all staff members.”
The letter comes amid a growing accommodation crisis which is affecting students both in Dublin and nationally.
Last week, NUI Galway Students’ Union (NUIGSU) issued an open letter to Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris outlining measures they would like to see taken to alleviate the accommodation crisis.
Last month, Provost Linda Doyle described the accommodation situation nationally as “a real crisis situation”.