TCDSU President urges students to join USI walkout

An email to members confirmed that students would not be penalised for walking out of classes tomorrow

Students have been urged to join the Union of Students’ in Ireland (USI) Student Walkout tomorrow at 11.11am by the union president.

Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union President (TCDSU) Gabi Fullam this evening asked the student body to join a mass walkout organised by USI tomorrow.

In an email sent to members of the union this evening, Fullam said: “We are being exploited by landlords, developers, and vulture funds.”

“While this crisis is one that hurts the oppressed in our community most, it is becoming more and more obvious that this is unsustainable for everyone.”

The walkout, organised by USI with the support of local students’ unions, is set to take place on college campuses across the country.

Fullam’s email continued: “There is an expected shortage of 20,000 student beds by 2024.”

“Budget 2023 shows no commitment to solving the shortage and student rents have not been capped. We aren’t stupid,” she added.

The statement added that the walkout had received the support of the provost and that students should not be penalised for participating.

“The higher education sector is chronically underfunded, and a once-off 1,000 euro reduction, only available to some, will not pacify us. Education is a human right,” Fullam stated. “I’m sick of it being treated like a commodity, only available to the few.”

Students were instructed to set alarms to go off inside lecture halls at 11.11am, and to then walk out of classes and assemble outside the Dining Hall steps in Front Square.

“It is time for us to show our power here. We are a union, and we are only powerful with your support,” Fullam added. “That’s why tomorrow we are asking you to walk out of your classes at 11:11.”

Fullam explained that stewards would assist in coordinating the assembly in Front Square.

Students at St. James’ Campus were instructed to meet outside the Old Stone.

“This doesn’t start with the walkout, nor does it end with it,” the email continued. “If you cannot partake physically, it will also be live-streamed on the @tcdsu Instagram and you will be able to watch the recording back.”

“After the walk out, we ask you to continue to apply pressure to your government representatives and continue the conversation around this crisis.”

“Please walk out tomorrow morning at 11:11am,” the email concluded.

USI’s demands include protection for renters, including an immediate eviction ban, and the introduction of housing as a constitutional right, the introduction of rent caps, and public subsidisation of affordable purpose-built student accommodation.

Their demands address the cost of college, including the abolition of the student contribution fee, and protesting the funding gap of €285 million in the higher education sector.

TCDSU pledged its support to the protest in August, and issued a list of demands to College and government, including measures to combat and alleviate the accommodation crisis.

In August, Provost Linda Doyle described the accommodation issue as a “real crisis situation” and called for urgent and long-term solutions to the crisis to be implemented.

David Wolfe

David Wolfe is a Junior Sophister student of History and Political Science. He is the current Social Media and Managing Editor of Trinity News, having previously served as News Editor, Assistant News Editor and copyeditor.

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.