Goldsmith residents to receive €200 T-Card credit as a result of the disruption caused by construction works

A resident said: “It’s a shame they couldn’t give us money to spend in The Buttery when our kitchen was inoperable.”

Several Goldsmith residents are to receive €200 worth of T-Card credit as a result of the disruption caused by construction works on the building throughout September. 

In an email seen by Trinity News, the accommodation office said: “We would like to thank you again for your patience while the new windows were installed in your kitchens.”

“It was intended to have the work completed well in advance of your arrival but COVID-19 delays in the supply chain meant their delivery was severely impacted”, the email continued. 

“To thank you for your patience we will be applying a €200 credit to your T-Card over the next few days which you can use through the year wherever T-card is accepted.”

Speaking on the reimbursement, one resident expressed her frustration to Trinity News, saying: “it’s a shame they couldn’t give us money to spend in The Buttery when our kitchen was inoperable.”

“This compensation is said to be for students putting up with construction, but doesn’t mention the reason we first went to the Accommodation Advisory Service, which was our kitchen being rendered unusable with no communication from Trinity.”

The student doesn’t believe “a T-Card top-up is sufficient compensation for what happened in [their] kitchen”. 

She is “frustrated that that situation isn’t being taken seriously by Trinity”, a situation which she believes is “breach of tenants rights”. 

“A T-Card top-up is a false compensation, since we can only spend it on campus — and not even everywhere on campus. For example, I can’t use it to do my laundry.”

She continued: “The only thing I would realistically use it for would be to print, but my course submits entirely online so I don’t ever need to print on campus. I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than €15 on my T-Card.”

“Trinity knows that most students won’t spend the entire €200, no matter how hard they try.”

“Trinity seems to care a lot more about financials than they do about students, their rights and their living conditions, so it’s fitting that they would compensate us by encouraging us to buy from their own enterprises”, she concluded. 

On September 21, Trinity News reported on the ongoing issues in the Goldsmith residences. At the time, students have highlighted issues with broken appliances, disturbing construction and blocked drains.

One student, who wished to remain anonymous, told Trinity News that at 8am on Monday morning “painters arrived to paint the kitchen unannounced” and they “had no access to the kitchen until after 5pm that day”.

According to the student, “they moved all of our furniture and the fridge was unplugged by either the painters or the cleaner”.

“This was only discovered by us at 10.15 on Tuesday morning, leaving our meat and dairy products to go bad. This cost us good money to replace the food, money that we do not have.”

The student explained that they “sent [Student Residences] an email and they were far from helpful”. “We also asked them to also fix our fridge light which they did not do.”

“Furthermore, the construction on our kitchen window starts before 8am which is a joke.”

In an email seen by Trinity News from Student Residences on September 7, they announced that Estates and Facilities would be replacing the kitchen windows in House 63 and House 64.

The email advised residents that “contractors will be working on the kitchen windows in these Houses, until the end of September, as repairs are carried out to the kitchen windows”.

The email also noted that residents “will still be able to use the kitchen, as the windows have been boarded up, from inside the kitchen, with the works being carried out on the exterior of the building”.

However, students disputed this, with one student claiming that their kitchen is “inaccessible” and was only informed of the works two days after they moved in. 

“When we arrived we realised this meant there would be floor to ceiling plywood in place of windows, leaving us with no sunlight or way of getting fresh air into the kitchen, and also that there would be loud construction work beginning early in the morning directly outside two of our bedrooms.”

The student also explained that their “kettle and toaster were not working when [they] moved in, there was a leak under the kitchen sink, and all of the shower drains were blocked”.

“One night, potentially because of the construction work, the water was shut off and when it came back it was dirty and brown and would sputter everywhere.”

The student highlighted one incident where they arrived home to find their kitchen “inaccessible”. “We were never informed or given any kind of notice for this, and both arrived at lunchtime ready to cook and couldn’t so much as get something from one of our cupboards.”

“The kitchen was being painted and since there’s no ventilation (due to there being no windows) the fumes were strong.”

The student felt that this work “seem[ed] entirely unnecessary to be carried out during term time” but notes that “even if we had been notified in advance it would have allowed us to prepare for it”.

“Between moving into a flat with broken appliances and blocked drains, having our water shut off and ridiculously loud construction we were struggling enough with the apartment, but not being able to access our kitchen and not being warned of any of this has really made us question our decision to live here.”

Speaking to Trinity News at the time, a College spokesperson said: “College is aware of the problems at Goldsmith Hall which affect around 32 residents and concern work being undertaken on kitchen windows.”

“The Accommodation Service has been in touch with residents to apologise for the inconvenience caused”, the statement continued. 

“These essential works were to be completed during the summer months, but for reasons beyond College’s control this did not happen.”

“The university continues to actively engage with the contractor to conclude the works as soon as possible.”

Kate Henshaw

Kate Henshaw is current Editor-in-Chief of Trinity News, and a graduate of Sociology and Social Policy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.