Students will organise a direct action next week in protest at a proposed four per cent increase to the cost of Trinity’s student accommodation.
At a town hall meeting run by Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) tonight, those gathered agreed to run some form of “soft” direct action next week.
Delegates from the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), including Vice-President for the Dublin Region Craig McHugh, spoke in favour of the action.
McHugh, referencing 2018’s Take Back Trinity protests, said College has a “proud record” of delivering on its promises when it comes to direct action.
Last week, an internal document obtained by The University Times revealed that College will bring a proposal for a four per cent rent increase to its next Finance Committee meeting.
The document also shows College’s Commercial Revenue Unit recommends a “€10 per week premium” on rooms in the College’s Printing House Square complex, which has hit a number of delays and will open in July 2020.
College is at risk of “a significant negative impact” on finances, the agenda states, “resulting from a drop in demand (occupancy) due to the price sensitivity of student accommodation and the nature of the accommodation department’s fixed cost base”.
In an email statement to The University Times, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President Laura Beston said that the union “fully opposes” the proposal.
“We will do whatever we must in the lead up to, and in the aftermath of, this meeting to ensure that students are not burdened with an increase in rent”, she said. “We are already working on ensuring that this decision does not pass and will fight this decision with all the resources we have.”
“The SU has seen an alarming increase in the number of students commuting, facing financial issues and even having to drop out of college due to the Housing Crisis. We will not stand idly by while we have the power to oppose a decision at a college level that may help alleviate one of the biggest pressure points facing our students.”
Thomas Deane, a Trinity media relations officer, wrote in an email statement to The University Times: “At present there are no plans to increase on-campus rents”, adding: “They are periodically reviewed but any changes must be approved by Trinity’s Finance Committee.”
“In addition”, Deane wrote, “any increases must be in line with regulations as set by the Residential Tenancies Board”.