Officers of the UCDSU sabbatical team have dropped a banner from the Newman building in order to promote their Student Accommodation Protest.
The banner drop was met with disdain from UCD Estate Services, who asked SU officers to alight from the rain covers on the concourse, citing a lack of risk assessment. Estate Services declined to give comment to The College Tribune.
The protest, which will take place on Valentine’s Day this coming Monday, is being held to protest against the “sky high rents” of on-campus student accommodation and the rising commercialization of the college. The union is calling on UCD to “reciprocate the love that students have” for their college by addressing a number of “core UCD student issues” which have arisen over the last few years. UCDSU is hoping that the protest will lead to mass student mobilization to address the high cost of renting on-campus student accommodation, persuade UCD to provide greater funding to student support services and “ending [the] exploitation of postgraduate workers”.
What do UCDSU hope to achieve?
Speaking to the College Tribune, UCDSU President Ruairí Power said that he hopes the protest will generate “as much student mobilization as possible” arguing that “urgent change” is needed to combat the rising commercialization of the college. The union argued that this trend “poses an existential risk” to the experience of students in UCD.
Power hopes the “demonstration will unite as many students and staff members as possible” saying that he was “delighted to have support from SIPTU, Unite, and IFUT UCD. We think that’s quite a powerful message of solidarity and hope.”
The protest has received the support of trade unions such as IFUT UCD and SIPTU as well as receiving considerable support from students on campus. The Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) have put their support behind the Union’s protest saying: “The concerns raised by the Students Union overlap with the issues IFUT has been campaigning on for years, namely the use of casual and precarious labour (including postgraduate students) in the delivery of modules, and the prevailing of corporate interests over staff and students.”
Hugh Dooley – News Editor