Trinity College Dublin Student Union (TCDSU) has passed a motion to oppose the closure of the science gallery.
This motion was proposed by Senior Sophister (SS) Modern Irish Class Rep, Cúnla Morris. The motion was seconded by TCDSU President, Leah Keogh and STEM Convenor President, Zöe Cummins.
During a discussion on the motion Senior Fresh Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Sociology (PPES) Class Rep, László Molnárfi,commented that “the closure of the science gallery was announced in a very weird way”.
Molnárfi noted that there had been “no consultation” and no signs of “any sort of procedure”.
TCDSU President, Leah Keogh also commented saying: “We formally opposed the closure last Wednesday at board”
Keogh commented that TCDSU wants to take opposition to the “next level”.
Speaking to Trinity News, Morris said: “I submitted this motion on behalf of both [Trinity] students and the general public. When the business post released their article, I started a petition on change.org.”
“At the time of writing the motion, it had about 3000 signatures – now it’s over 4500 signatures.”
Continuing, she said: “I hate to pull the “unprecedented times” card, but it’s true that in the age of covid and misinformation, we have more of a need for accessible scientific knowledge than ever before.”
“It’s not just a gallery, it’s a student space; it’s one of the few places on campus that hires students. to throw it away would reflect incredibly poorly on our university.”
The motion comes after it was reported non-profit gallery will close February 2022, due to the financial unavailability. TCDSU had expressed anger at the decision, saying in a tweet: “Shocking news from [College] today. [The gallery] is an essential cultural space for our campus and our city.’’
The motion noted that the announcement of the closure came from an anonymous source that was then backed up by college authorities. TCDSU sabbatical officers have said they were not informed of the decision prior to the announcement.
The motion cited the gallery as “an important part of the [Trinity] campus and of the larger culture of Dublin” and one that “provides a free recreational space to be visited by all”. The motion highlighted that the gallery is both a recreational space and a source of employment for students.
The motion has also noted that at the time of writing, a petition to save the gallery has reached 36,000 signatures. This motion was created by Morris, and states “closing the Science Gallery affects all of us, in Dublin and beyond, and strips away another aspect of accessible education and recreation”.
“Trinity College Dublin, we demand a solution. Don’t let down your students, your visitors, your staff, and your city.”
The Science Gallery belongs to the Global Science Gallery Network developed by College in 2012. College released a statement saying that “the Gallery incurred substantial deficits in each of the last four financial years”.
As of September 30, “the accumulated deficit stands at €1.65 million and is predicted to exceed €2 million in 2022”.
College stated that Board were keen to find a way forward, however this would only be possible through the securing of “sufficient funding from Government”.
Additional reporting by Jack Kennedy, Kate Henshaw, Bella Salerno and Leonard Mussler.