The student movement group, Students4Change (S4C), is to hold a boycott and sit-in of the Buttery this Thursday, March 16.
The boycott, announced today in a statement on Instagram, will be in protest of “Trinity’s discriminatory, elitist and classist policy of kicking students out of catering places for bringing their own food.”
In the statement, Students4Change accuses Trinity of favouring “profit over the well-being of the academic community” due to the College’s “enforcement of this policy”.
“Over the past few months, we have had concrete reports pouring in from students who have been asked to leave, oftentimes becoming separated from their friends, despite there being empty seats available.This is especially worrying as there are not enough seating places across campus in the first place, and many are left eating their prepared lunches on the floor,” the Instagram post read.
The statement continued: “We call on all students on [Thursday] from 1pm-2pm to refuse to buy anything, bring their own food and sit-in at the Buttery.”
The group also noted that they will give further information about how they “will ensure solidarity” with the Buttery staff during this protest.
In a statement sent to Trinity News this evening, Students4Change said: “Students4Change, a group of progressive students and staff from Trinity College Dublin, have called a boycott and sit-in of their College’s cafeteria, specifically the Buttery, on [March 16] 1pm-2pm.”
“Over the past few months, we have had concrete reports pouring in from students who have been asked to leave, oftentimes becoming separated from their friends, despite there being empty seats available,” the statement said. “Trinity has at times made this policy explicit, and through continued enforcement of the policy made it clear that they favour profit over the wellbeing of the academic community. This is especially worrying as there are not enough seating places across campus in the first place.”
“It is our understanding that Trinity’s Commercial Revenue Unit, College’s profit-maximising arm, has instructed Trinity Catering and workers to kick students out who bring their own food to catering places. We do not blame Trinity Catering nor the college catering employees,” the statement continued.
“Solidarity with staff is of utmost importance to us as we are trying to build a movement of workers and students to challenge the corporatization of academia. We have met with trade union representatives for the Buttery workers, and they assured us that they have no issues with us taking this action. They said they will interfere if the College attempts sneaky tactics to divide students and staff.”
László Molnárfi, Chairperson of Students4Change and President-elect of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) said: “It is a testament to how corporatized our universities have become and how little senior management cares about the student experience that students are being kicked out of Trinity catering places in an attempt to favour paying customers.”
Molnárfi continued: “Our College is a public space and an academic community which should be inclusive to all and especially those struggling during the cost of living crisis. Students are being asked to leave their friends and go eat their lunches somewhere else and this is just disgraceful.”
Trinity News has contacted College for comment.
Additional reporting by Shannon Connolly.