NCAD Student Action have criticised the appointment of Bernard Hanratty, a former managing director at the Citigroup Bank, as the acting director of the National College of Art and Design (NCAD).
Speaking to Trinity News, the group said that they regard the “appointment of the new interim director with absolute scepticism.” They added that they “hadn’t been given any evidence that improvements would be made,” although they would be delighted to be proven wrong. “We hope that our negative stance on the issue proves to be unnecessary, but remain pessimistic as such a surprise would require an absolute deviance from the college management’s recent trajectory of neoliberalism, educational compromise, and complete disregard for students’ input,” they said.
“The root of all of the issues that we have faced as a college, and that education faces internationally,” they explained, “stems from a morally deplorable neoliberal agenda. This agenda is one which sees a dramatic decline in both student and staff welfare. It has permeated every aspect of our education systems. In our college decisions are made, not out of artistic or educational concerns, but from an apathetic, capital driven stance.”
Former director of NCAD Declan McGonagle stepped down in September last year citing personal reasons.
Prior to this, students of NCAD staged several sit-ins and protests against the mismanagement of the college and its accounts after it was revealed that NCAD core funding had been cut by 52% over the past five years due to €104 million being unaccounted for as accounts were only up to date up to 2012. An increased student intake of 75%, a shortening of the undergraduate degree from four to three years, and a lack of studio space for undergraduates and postgraduates were also major factors in the students’ decision to protest.