TCDSU scraps proposal to use increased masters’ fee revenue on health services

TCDSU have said their poll shows the student body is “too divided” on the proposal

Yesterday Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) scrapped a proposal to use revenue from the proposed masters’ fee increase to improve College counselling and health services following divided survey results. 

In an email to the student body yesterday TCDSU President László Molnárfi thanked students for filling out a survey which pertained to “the masters’ fees proposal whereby the increase would go towards student services” saying: “The results are divided.”

“They are too divided for us to be able to claim that there is a clear student will in favour of the proposal.”

“We believe that we should not abandon half of the student population for a compromise,” saying the union will “continue to fight the fee increase in its totality.” 

“The proposal from College is thus rejected.”

Molnárfi also noted that TCDSU “have not yet received a costed proposal from College with tangible service provision improvements””

“We have communicated to the Provost’s Office that they should consider raising the Book of Kells and other touristic activity prices, not the fees.”

Molnárfi said that the union will be “developing a policy on this for submission to the relevant authorities”.

“We need to take a principled stand. We should not fight for scraps,” he continued. 

“If we enter into an agreement with College now, without a clear student will, it sets a bad precedent.”

Acknowledging comments submitted from students via the survey he said “it would give rise to a situation in which fee and rent increases would be implicitly endorsed by the TCDSU” and how “with its spending negotiated, would subsume the TCDSU in a commercialised framework in which we are ‘consumer’ stakeholders in the university”.

“In the end, our vision for a publicly-funded university is broader and more compelling than a future in which the union is a co-partner in the marketization of education.”

In his email Molnárfi also touched on the €214k fine currently levied against TCDSU over disruptive protests saying: “We have rejected this, and a legal letter was issued to the College stating that the fine will not be paid.”

“If we engaged with the negotiations process on this matter,” he said the union would “have trapped the TCDSU in a permanently institutionalised form of engagement in which the union would be liable for future protests”.

He concluded by saying that “TCDSU will not become institutionalised within the structures of the College and we re-state our vision for grassroots power,” calling on students to join TCDSU’s campaigns group.

In a statement to Trinity News Molnárfi  said: “Unfortunately, the current proposal does not have necessary student support with regards to the masters’ fees.”

He went on to say that “TCDSU could run a more official polling” but “it does not seem likely that there is a clear majority”.

“As I am sure is understood, we are a democratic body and we cannot enter into an agreement if after consulting our members, we find out that there is a lack of support for it,” he said.

“Students are instead asking you to investigate the possibility of raising the Book of Kells prices and not fees.”

Molnárfi called on the Financial Services Division (FSD) to look into such an option.

“If we take an approximate calculation, a 1 euro increase would give us half a million euros of income, a 2 euro increase one million euros of income, and so on. I am certain that this will be satisfactory to all parties,” he concluded. 

Further meetings are to take place on the matter with the final decision to be made by the Board of Trinity on May 22.

Last week Trinity Molnárfi told Trinity News that he welcomed “a change in attitude from management when it comes to listening to student voices” concerning the proposed increase to masters’ fees

The union initially protested against the proposed 2.3% increase to masters’ fees along with a 10% increase for certain masters’ programmes and non-EU courses for the 2025/2026 academic year.

Aoibhinn Clancy

Aoibhínn Clancy is the Deputy News Editor of Trinity News and is currently in her Junior Sophister Year studying History and Political Science.