Student residents of the Rubrics building, having been told that they would be able to move into their accommodation by the 1st of October, are still waiting to be admitted. This follows extensive renovations which have taken place on the Rubrics over the past few months.
The renovation works were originally supposed to be purely external, involving repairs to damaged brickwork, windows and roof tops as well as the building being painted and cleaned. However, the Accommodation Office (AO) then decided that the student rooms would be kept empty in order to “lay new flooring in rooms, kitchens, showers, and toilets and to provide new desks, chairs and some other furnishing”. This decision, which residents of the Rubrics contacted by Trinity News claim not to have been informed of, has apparently delayed them from availing of their pre-agreed accommodation for over three weeks.
When student residents of the Rubrics entered the office on October 1st, expecting to pick up their keys for their Rubrics rooms, they were presented with keys to alternative on-campus accommodation. “I was never actually told that the rooms wouldn’t be ready for the start of term”, one student resident of the Rubrics said. When the student asked when she would be able to move into the Rubrics building, the AO representative replied that she would be “e-mailed when they know” and that it would “probably be within two weeks”. The student was obliged to accept alternative accommodation in New Square until her Rubrics room was available. Three weeks have past by and the student has still not been contacted.
The AO claims that “15 student places have been left vacant’” throughout the course of the project. When asked why this alternative student accommodation was left vacant in the first place, the AO replied that “these alternative rooms became available when rooms were declined or returned by those who were allocated rooms” and insisted that the return of rooms around September is a “normal phenomenon”. The AO maintains that “after the situation normalises”, any vacant rooms will be offered “to students who have previously applied” for them. This does, however, call into question how many more on-campus student rooms have been left uninhabited since the start of the academic year.
The students will receive no compensation for being deprived of their Rubrics accommodation. The AO states that the offer of alternative accommodation due to the Rubrics project “is within the terms of the Conditions of Occupancy which the residents accept” and, therefore, there has been “no breach of the Conditions”. Students who are currently occupying inferior rooms will not however be charged the higher rent of their Rubrics rooms in the interim. Trinity News has been assured that the student rooms in the Rubrics will be available from next week.
While student residents have been vacated from their rooms in Rubrics, most, if not all, staff residents have continued to occupy their rooms. Some temporary relocations of staff did take place during August and September, but they have since returned. The AO emphasised that “staff residents have shown considerable goodwill and forbearance during the project”. No similar reference was made to the goodwill and forbearance of the students.