Masters students left without drinking water, bathrooms and sanitation bins as sudden renovations begin

The Interactive Digital Media (M.Sc.) course is affected by the works to the 8 Westland Square building

A Master’s degree course has been left without a kitchen, drinking water, female toilets and sanitation bins following sudden renovation works taking place in 8 Westland Square.

An email was sent to the Interactive Digital Media (MSc) course on the morning of Monday 14, announcing the refurbishment works that were to begin then and continue for three weeks. The email was sent by the School of Computer Science and Statistics, which runs the master’s programme, and it outlined how the works affected the ground and first floor of the four storey building.

The first floor contains the students’ kitchen and the only women’s toilets in the building, resulting in no access to drinking water, sanitation bins, or anywhere to eat or store lunch. The female students on the course are left using male toilets, or those in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI) building across the road.

Students on the course in question are currently preparing for a group project due on September 2, which is worth a third of their final grade.

The 23 students on the course had previously been confined to using the third floor of the building due to separate machinery upgrades, resulting in cramped conditions. The third floor contains two rooms, one of which has two computers and sound equipment while the other has 28 computers, some of which are not working.

A student on the master’s programme said: “We feel that this is yet another example of the disconnect between management and students in the university. Issues concerning the wifi have not been addressed despite being flagged in the first few weeks of the course in October. In November the class were forced to bring in electric heaters in order to stay in the lab as the heating system was not functioning. The elevator in the building has also been malfunctioning since September. There is a general feeling that students in the course are being neglected. It is beyond upsetting that in the final weeks of our course in which we are working hard on the last third of our grade that basic necessities have not been adequately provided.”

In a statement, the head of the School of Computer Science and Statistics, Carol O’Sullivan, said, “The school regrets the problems being experienced by the students in Westland Square, which have been caused by a very necessary renovation to the premises. The school is currently radically upgrading the infrastructure and course provisions for our postgraduate students. This is a top priority for the school and we are investing considerable resources into the postgraduate area. As of today [Wednesday 16], temporary measures have been put in place to minimise the impact to the Interactive Digital Media students of the current works. The Interactive Digital Media degree is one of the best resourced courses in the school, and indeed in the College. The students have an entire floor to themselves, each has their own workstation with the latest cutting-edge software.”

The Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) President, Shane Collins, said: ”We’re working on getting some immediate remedies for students like water canisters and there’s a meeting with the head of school on Friday. [It is] not acceptable for our Interactive Digital Media students to be subjected to short notice of infrastructural works as they were and particularly at this stage of their project work, but [I am] very hopeful that appropriate remedies will be provided and in the short term we can meet something which is satisfactory to students. More long term though, and after viewing the conditions students are currently working under, extensive works are required to bring the learning environments up to standards which the GSU would view as acceptable.”

Niamh Lynch

Niamh was Editor of the 65th volume of Trinity News. She is a History and Politics graduate.