TCDSU officers-elect sign pledge in support of rent strikes

All candidates who ran in this year’s Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) elections, bar those who ran for the position of Editor of the University Times, have signed a pledge that they would support a rent strike in Trinity.

The pledge was originally intended to be signed and released during the election period, but was instead released yesterday evening, four days after the results of this year’s TCDSU sabbatical officer elections were announced.

The pledge, created by the Cut the Rent TCD campaign group, states that if elected the candidates would support a rent strike of students in college operated accommodation and “stand with” students participating in a rent strike.

All candidates who were elected have chosen to sign, committing them to support rent strikes in a situation where a rent increase is implemented.

In a post on social media, Cut the Rent TCD apologised for the delay in publishing the list, but stated that given that all candidates had signed, they are “look[ing] forward to working with sabbats who are enthusiastic about opposing rent increases for student accommodation”.

The pledge also commits those who signed to defend the union’s current mandate to support the campaign group, which was passed by TCDSU Council in November.

TCDSU Council originally voted against supporting the group before deciding to give it their backing, initially raising concerns that it would offer the group a blank cheque of support for whatever action they wished to take.

The pledge signed by next year’s sabbatical team further says that they will make a “conscious effort to engage with the campaign” by attending the group’s meetings and direct actions. The pledge states that once in office, union sabbatical officers will defend the demands of the campaign in negotiations will College.

The Cut the Rent group was established in early October and called for students in Trinity Hall (Halls) and on-campus accommodation to take part in a rent strike whereby they would have withheld the second instalment of rent for this academic year, due in January, unless the group’s demands were met. The group later rescinded their call for a rent strike following concerns of low participation.

The group’s demands include a rent freeze, the establishment of a bursary to subsidise accommodation costs for disadvantaged students and for students with disabilities, and an investment into improving and expanding student accommodation that is suitable for people with disabilities.

They have also called for recognition of students living in college accommodation as full tenants and recognition for a student renters’ union, with elected representatives.

The group has recently become active again, coordinating two protests alongside TCDSU in the past couple of weeks against a proposal that is due to come to Trinity’s finance committee for a 4% increase in rent for all College operated accommodation.

Finn Purdy

Finn Purdy is the current Deputy Editor of Trinity News. He is a Junior Sophister English Studies student, and a former News Editor and Assistant News Editor.