Academic Registry did not charge the student centre levy last September. The levy of €30 was due to begin this year for first and second-year students to fund the building of a €7 million student centre.
Speaking to The University Times, the President of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU), Kevin Keane, said that the levy was not charged last September and will not be charged this September either.
As College has not yet collected this money, TCDSU and the Central Societies Committee (CSC) have applied for a loan of €180,000 from College. This money will go towards updating society spaces including the Atrium and introducing a student space in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI).
The loan will also be used to reimburse TCDSU the €25,000 it spent on upgrading the lobby space of Trinity’s D’Olier St building, which is used by nursing and midwifery students.
Eighty-eight per cent of students who voted in March last year voted in favour of introducing a student centre levy of €30. The levy will be paid by students in 22 annual instalments and was due to be charged starting last September, but Academic Registry has yet to introduce it.
Speaking to The University Times, the Chair of the CSC, Benn Ó hÓgáin, said the reason for applying for the loan now was “to rectify a failing of College”. “The money should already be there”, he added. But Ó hÓgáin was hopeful that College will approve the loan.
Ó hÓgáin said at the CSC’s AGM on Tuesday that the loan has been applied for and that “this will be repaid in the short term once the new student levy kicks in”.
Keane said that the systems that Academic Registry would need to implement were not ready in time to charge the levy this year. All students will be charged the levy starting in the 2019/20 academic year.
The vote last March saw students agree that the money collected from the first two years of the levy would go towards updating and improving existing student and society spaces in College. The loan that TCDSU and the CSC have applied for will be paid back after the first collection of the charge by Trinity, so there will be a second year of funds to further develop student and society spaces.
Any spending of the funds will be decided by the executive committees of TCDSU and the CSC and will be presented to the Capitations Committee for approval. The money collected for the remaining 20 years of the levy will be used to build and maintain the student centre.
The Capitations Committee is comprised of representatives from TCDSU, the CSC, the Graduates Students’ Union (GSU), Trinity Publications and the Dublin University Central Athletics Club (DUCAC). The CSC is the body responsible for supporting and regulating student societies, and is one of the five capitated bodies in College.
Students who are deemed to be in financial hardship, as decided by the Office of the Senior Tutor, will be exempt from paying the levy.
The construction of the student centre has been given a budget of €7 million and is due to be delivered within five years. However, a location for the new purpose-built centre has yet to be identified. Keane said that the centre is still on track to be delivered on time.
The student centre is expected to be a part of College’s new estates strategy, which is due to be revealed later this year. Trinity is the only university in Ireland that does not have a purpose-built student centre.
Academic Registry didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.