The University of Limerick (UL) has come under fire after refusing to issue refunds to students who leave the college’s accommodation early due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Students leaving UL’s accommodation have been told they can claim back deposits paid at the beginning of the year, but will not be refunded rent that covers the rest of the semester, the Irish Examiner is reporting.
UL Student Life – the college’s students’ union – wrote in a statement that UL “is the only university in Ireland not offering refunds to students for their on-campus accommodation. This position is simply untenable”.
“The University of Limerick must show a duty of care to its students during the Covid-19 pandemic. Refunding students for their unused accommodation would take a significant financial burden off students this year.”
Most UL students have left their accommodation, with only 700 students remaining in the 2,850 beds the college has on campus.
A UL spokesperson told the Examiner that its student accommodation has remained “open and operational”, adding that support networks are in place for all students living on campus.
“We continue to examine all issues in light of the rapidly changing circumstances of this global Covid-19 crisis”, the spokesperson said.
In Trinity, controversy erupted earlier this month when the College ordered all students living in its accommodation to vacate.
Irish students were given just 24 hours to vacate their apartments, while international students were told they should “aim to have left their Trinity accommodation” within 48 hours of the announcement.
The following day, this newspaper reported that many international students were scrambling to find a way home – with several reporting huge “stress and anxiety” and many hitting out at the College. One asked: “What the hell were they thinking?”
Trinity drew the ire of both Lorna Fitzpatrick, the president of the Union of Students of Ireland, and Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President Laura Beston for the short notice and lack of consultation with students.
Binary Hub and Kavanagh Court – both of which are privately operated – have not issued a vacation order as of yet, despite Trinity naming those residences in their initial email concerning vacating accommodation.
College later backtracked, admitting that it was not in a position to order students to vacate the luxury complexes.