The president of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has criticised Trinity’s decision to instruct students to leave College accommodation this week, calling the move “extremely concerning”.
Speaking to The University Times tonight – hours after College told international student residents they have until Wednesday to move out of their accommodation – Lorna Fitzpatrick said that “24 hours or 48 hours for students to pack up their homes, essentially, is a really concerning fact”.
She said the way Trinity has handled the situation is “a major concern for us”, adding that “there are an awful lot more questions than answers”.
“The lack of engagement with the students’ union in relation to this is a huge problem”, she said.
Laura Beston, the president of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union, wrote in a statement to The University Times that the union is “disappointed in the lack of communication received regards this decision”.
“TCDSU are currently doing all we can to see what can be done to support the students affected”, she said.
Tonight, an email to all students and staff – signed by Provost Patrick Prendergast, Head of Accommodation Neal Murphy, Registrar of Chambers Philip Coleman and Roja Fazaeli, the warden of Trinity Hall – told Trinity student residents living in Ireland that they must return home from tomorrow at 8pm, “and stay at home until notified otherwise”.
Students living overseas, the email states, should aim to leave their Trinity accommodation by 5pm this Wednesday, March 18th.
Students can stay on campus if they face homelessness, have the virus or are self-isolating, have a family member with the virus, have immigration or visa restrictions, have extremely limited internet connectivity in their home, or are conducting research on campus for a PhD.
Those remaining on campus must notify College by March 19th, after which they will be locked out of their accommodation. “We’re taking these steps so that we have a clear picture of who remains on campus”, Prendergast, Coleman, Murphy and Fazaeli wrote.
Students on campus and in Halls will be compensated on a pro rata basis for their early exit from accommodation. College says it will “offer full support” to students living in Binary Hub and Kavanagh Court – privately owned luxury student accommodation complexes that have agreements with Trinity – if they pursue compensation.