The proposed increase to on-campus accommodation has not been approved at today’s meeting of Finance Committee.
The University Times revealed earlier today that College had proposed a significant increase to the price of on-campus accommodation.
Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) opposed the proposed increase at Finance Committee today, with hundreds of students gathering outside House One to protest the proposed increases and the introduction of supplemental exam fees.
TCDSU President Kevin Keane, who sits on Finance Committee, confirmed that the fee increase hadn’t been approved.
“The Finance Committee had no option but to listen. On the back of strong student dissent, it failed to implement an increase to on campus accommodation rates today”, he said.
“This is a huge win for the Take Back Trinity Movement, but it can only be the beginning. Today shows us the power of the student movement. When we refuse to roll over and give in, college has no option but to listen to us”, he said.
The union will host another open planning meeting tomorrow at 1pm in Aras an Phiarsaigh.
A memorandum from Trinity’s Director of Commercialisation, Adrian Neilan, that was discussed today at Finance Committee and obtained by The University Times, recommended a €21 increase per week in Botany Bay, New Square, Graduates Memorial Building and Front Square accommodation to support a reduction in costs in the privately rented Binary Hub and Kavanagh Court accommodation complexes.
Two options for accommodation price increases were presented at Finance Committee today. While both include price increases for on-campus accommodation, the latter option – which was recommended – would have resulted in a lower increase but at the cost of no refurbishment for Trinity’s on-campus accommodation.
The document pitched the increases for on-campus accommodation as a way of “aligning Heritage [Trinity’s most expensive on-campus accommodation], Binary Hub and Kavanagh Court”. This means that Trinity wants on-campus rates to match those offered by private providers.
The latter property struggled to attract students, with TCDSU criticising the cost of the student accommodation.
Under the first option, Trinity would spend around €200 on refurbishing accommodation in 2018-19. However, this option, showed a rise in weekly rents. For example, a student living in Botany Bay, who current pays €214 a week, would have to pay €240 a week. But, apartments would be refurbished.
Under option two, with no refurbishment, a student living in Botany Bay would pay €235 a week. However, Trinity would not refurbish the apartments, despite Finance Committee agreeing to do so in May 2017.
The increases were proposed to also help offset the two per cent increase in operating costs the College is expecting to see because the cost of services such as maintenance and public sector pay restoration are due in October 2018 and January 2019.
Speaking to The University Times last year, Provost Patrick Prendergast discussed how living in Trinity’s Botany Bay in the mid-1980s contributed to his view that Trinity should remain a “residential university”. He discussed how “that’s the kind of university I have a vision for, a residential university. I think it’s very important we build student residences on the main campus”.