A crowd of around 100 students protested a meeting of College’s Finance Committee taking place in House One.
Organised by Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU), the protest was organised in response to the introduction of a flat fee of €450 for supplemental exams, as well as an increase in the cost of on-campus accommodation.
In a speech given outside of House Six before the protest, TCDSU President Kevin Keane alleged that Finance Committee had voted to increase the cost of on-campus accommodation to that of the private student accommodation complex Kavanagh Court. Kavanagh Court charges residents €239 a week in rent.
The Finance Committee have not released minutes of its meetings since October 2017.
Speaking to Trinity News, Keane said: “We’re here protesting against the completely unjust introduction of all new charges against students by Finance Committee. Finance Committee is a group of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats who are trying to squeeze every last cent out of students from supplemental exam fees to accommodation charges to fee increases for non-EU and postgrad students.”
Leaflets given out at the protest read: “This college doesn’t listen to its students”. It continued: “College’s callous attitude of exploiting students for financial gain and ignoring the student voice must stop NOW. It is not acceptable to place endless financial burdens on the students of this University. It is already punitively expensive to attend Trinity – it costs €11,000 a year to live in Dublin already – a crippling and barrier-creating figure.”
The leaflet finished: “The students REJECT: Supplemental Exam Fees, Any increase in College Rents, Any increase in non-EU/Postgraduate fees. Any levy which unfairly targets students and turns TCD into an elitist, Classist University.”
Speaking in a speech before the protest, Keane said: “This is only the beginning we all here today, this is enough people to shut this University down…This is enough people to make a real change but only if you stick around until the end. Every single person here has to be back for our next event, our next action. This cannot be the end that’s really very important.”
“By being here today we show that the revolution is beginning here…For too long the college and the government have cut and slashes what we need. Never again will this university or this government get away with cutting it, slashing fees from the students of this university without kicking up a massive fucking fuss…I’m going into the snake pit that is the Financial Committee…I need to tell them that none of this is good enough…. If you won’t listen to students I’m gonna walk out of this committee…Take back Trinity. The door to House One is locked, why is that? This university is terrified of student power, what a group of organised, cohesive and powerful people do when they come together.”
Chants at the protest included “Paddy, Paddy, Paddy, Out, Out, Out,” in reference to Provost Patrick Prendergast, “fuck the fees,” and “students, not tourists”.
Two members of security stood at the entrance to House One in Front Square.
The protest comes after it was announced that the College’s Board will introduce a flat fee of €450 for supplemental exams in the 2018/19 academic year.
Additional reporting by Eoin O’Donnell.