Comment & Analysis
Apr 26, 2020

In Halls, Trinity Gets Into Another Accommodation Mess Of Its Own Making

Students in Halls were outraged at nightly charges to remain in accommodation, and by a proposal to move those staying into one block.

Léigh as Gaeilge an t-Eagarfhocal (Read Editorial in Irish) »
By The Editorial Board

Last week, this newspaper reported on the “mafioso-style” charges that students staying in Halls would face if they had to extend their stay.

It was a situation that sounded nearly too self-parodic to be true. First, Trinity extended its assessment period until May 15th, meaning students on the fence about going home were more likely to stay put. Then it told the same students they’d have to pay nearly €30 per night for the privilege.

Trinity made the sensible decision to extend this summer’s exam period in order to relieve strain on students (though a litany of timetabling issues did take the gloss off the process).


But it’s hard to fathom why College thought it was a good idea to try to charge the handful of remaining students to stay in situ, midway through what will be an intensely stressful assessment period.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, College went from the absurd to the downright irresponsible with a second directive that could see all Halls residents who stay past May 17th moved into the same apartment block.

Putting aside the medical protocols that this move likely puts College in breach of, stomaching the proposal becomes even harder when you consider that just last month, Trinity was defending its 48-hour evictions on the grounds that they were a medical necessity.

That College continues to make a hames of managing its accommodation will hardly come as a surprise to students – which in ways is as damning an indictment as you can get.

But it’s jarring that these stories keep coming to light, even as Trinity’s top officers insist their first priority is protecting students in an unprecedented situation. Students are unlikely to be able to manage stress levels or “take a break” (as one email advised) if they’re worried about the prospect of paying through the nose for their accommodation – indefinitely.

Last month, this Editorial Board admonished Trinity for irresponsibly turfing students out in the middle of a pandemic. Four weeks on, we’re in a similar situation – again.

All students want is an approach to accommodation guided by compassion, and by competence. Dispiritingly, it’s hard to see much evidence of either.