When it comes to managing its accommodation, it seems Trinity simply cannot stop getting itself into trouble.
Dozens of students who left Kavanagh Court in a hurry in March – when Trinity erroneously told them they had to leave, before a startling volte-face the following day – have been offered rent refunds that don’t cover the full period of time that they spent out of the complex.
Those affected are rightly furious at Uninest, which runs the complex. Rent in Kavanagh Court is infamously pricey, and after being wrongly turfed out almost overnight, they are now faced with being left over €900 out of pocket.
They have until tomorrow to accept the deal, and it’s not clear what the consequences will be if they don’t.
But Trinity’s fingerprints are also all over the affair. In March, with almost no notice, College made the students feel they had to leave Kavanagh Court, and this week it told them to accept a deal that most feel is deeply unfair.
The situation becomes more frustrating still when you consider that Trinity committed, vocally and on record, to fully supporting them in their quest for compensation. Now, students have essentially been told: take the offer – it’s the best you’ll get.
Trinity has had agreements with private student accommodation complexes for years, and while it does seem that College isn’t particularly enthusiastic about the arrangement, as long as it exists it’s eminently valid for students to hold it partially accountable when things go wrong.
It’s hard to avoid the feeling that this spat represents yet another caveat of making deals with private accommodation providers: Trinity might try to vouch for students, but it has put itself at the mercy of a multinational corporation, which will ultimately prioritise profit over all else.
Residents of Kavanagh Court are, at the end of the day, customers to Uninest, and shareholders will never show the same duty of care to customers as College should to its students.
Ever since College made deals with luxury accommodation complexes, eyebrows have been raised. Episodes like this demonstrate that it’s not only a flawed arrangement – it’s unworkable.