Representatives call on students to attend pre-budget rally

Too often, students restrict ourselves to opposing specific decisions. Too rarely are we given the opportunity to alter the perspective from which decisions are made.

Recent decisions denote a way of thinking that has gone unchecked in the higher education sector. University and governmental decision-makers alike have felt the need to make choices that run counter to our core beliefs: that our educational institutions exist for their students, and that our higher education sector should be accessible, student-centric and responsibly governed.

Among others, our grievances are as follows:

– Trinity rightly exalts its societies and clubs on an international stage. However, these same bodies of Trinity and many other institutions have found their finances cut repeatedly in recent years, despite the priceless contribution they make.

– Pastoral and academic services alike have become critically starved of governmental resources, directly hindering students’ fulfilment of their potential as graduates and as people.

– Longstanding inactivity has culminated in an unsustainable accommodation crisis. There remains an alarming lack of any long-term strategy to deal with the issue.

Cuts to student supports and services are mirrored across the country. Overall state funding of third-level institutions in Ireland has fallen by 32% in the past six years, according to the Higher Education Authority (HEA). Academic staff are increasingly overworked as the national staff-student ratio increases. For a new cohort of first-year students, education is more expensive than ever. Successive grant cuts, high rental costs and hikes in the student contribution charge have squeezed unprecedented numbers out of the system.

We stand at a crucial point in the history of Irish higher education. Together we call on our fellow students to show that education is worth fighting for and to let our voices be heard. Let’s join together on Wednesday 8th October as we rally for education, alongside other students from across the island.

There is a saying that, in times of famine, the one thing we must not eat is our seeds. In years to come, Irish society will depend on our higher education sector to deliver not only tax-payers, but the innovators, thinkers and researchers who will drive the recovery we need. We urge Trinity and government leaders to recognise that it is now that these seeds must be sown.

To add your name to the petition, please take a moment to sign here.

Domhnall McGlacken-Byrne, TCDSU President

Éanna Drury, Chair of the Central Societies Committee

Conor Traynor, DUCAC Vice Chair

Hugh Guidera, Editor of The Piranha

Meg Lee, President of the Graduate Students’ Union

Catherine Healy, Editor of Trinity News

Samuel Riggs, Editor of The University Times, TCDSU Communications Officer

Adam Hanna, Vice-President of the Graduate Students’ Union

Dan McFadden, who also serves as President of Cancer Society

Dónal McKeating, who also serves as Chair of DU Players

Robert Milling, who also serves as Auditor of QSoc

Katie Byrne, TCDSU Education Officer

Ian Mooney, TCDSU Welfare Officer

James Ringland, who also serves as Auditor of LawSoc

Finn Murphy, TCDSU Ents Officer

Michael Coleman, who also serves as Auditor of The Hist

John Lorigan, who also serves as President of VDP