This afternoon, the Graduate Students Union (GSU) and Students4Change (S4C) are staging a “joint march” of undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Beginning at Front Square at 4pm, the groups will march to the Dáil to “hold a protest against Trinity in full public”.
Announcing the protest, S4C and the GSU cite “major shortfalls in learning outcomes and the student experience” last year, explaining: “this year, the value of our education continues to be compromised.”
The announcement continued: “We are protesting for our contractual rights, making our voices heard for in-person lectures, refunds for this year and last year and against Trinity’s disregard for our mental health.”
The groups have published a list of demands, including “a partial refund to any student who suffered unnecessarily in 2020/2021/2022”.
They are also calling for College to “use the same exam format as last year, both for standard assessment in Semester 1 and for Schols”, and to “make sure that in all cases, assessments are the least stressful possible” by giving students “adequate training” “for Semester 2’s in-person exams”.
The GSU and S4C want College to “reverse the 2.3% and 4% rent hike in Trinity Accommodation for students and staff respectively”, saying: “some of us are struggling to pay this and can’t afford three meals a day.”
They are calling on College to “take steps by the end of Semester 1 towards ethical investment and ethically-sourced research” by “decrying its links with Israel, the war-industry and Declan Ganley”.
Other demands include giving “College security the respect they deserve and not have them chasing students who carry alcohol in their bags to have a social drink with friends on campus”.
The GSU and S4C are also asking College to place more emphasis on student mental health by committing “to a student to counselor and student to mental health nurse ratio of 1:1000” and giving “money from Trinity Ball to mental health services”.
The protest is calling for students to be compensated “for last year”. The GSU and S4C suggest that College makes the buttery free this year, provides per-module refunds for every online class this year, offers permanent access to digital library resources for one-year postgraduate students and exchange students, and covers the cost of graduation gowns at commencements.
Earlier this month, S4C called for “an escalation of direct action” at a Town Hall. At the meeting, S4C chairperson László Molnárfi said that College had not responded to the group’s demands, arguing: “they’re not taking students’ demands seriously.”
On September 22, between two and three hundred students attended a protest organised by S4C, with one student telling Trinity News that they were “fed up” with Trinity’s miscommunication about a return to campus.
TD for the Socialist Party Mick Barry also attended the protest.
TCDSU sabbatical officers were seen amongst the crowd, as well as representatives of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and GSU President Gisele Scanlon.
Provost Linda Doyle was also present, listening to speeches.
This was the first protest to take place in Trinity since the beginning of the pandemic, with many students disgruntled by College’s handling of the return to campus.
Photos of the protest can be viewed here: