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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 18 October, 2018
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Trinity students occupy building and block entrances in protest against exam resit fees

The Students’ Union President is due to meet with the university’s Vice Provost on the issue.

A GROUP OF Trinity College students is occupying the university’s dining hall and has blocked two of its entrances in a protest against exam resit fees.

The grassroots protesters describe themselves as a collective of undergraduate and postgraduate students in Trinity College Dublin “who can no longer stand by and watch the commodification of our education”.

They are supported by the Students’ Union.

The protestors have blocked entrances to TCD on Nassau St and at College Green, as well as the entrance to the library where the Book of Kells is kept.

2111 College Fees Protest_90539596 Students at the Dining Hall in Trinity College Dublin Source: Leah Farrell

The students say that on 23 January 2018, Trinity College proposed supplemental (repeat) exam fees of €200 per exam with a cap of €1000 to Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU).

The Union then proposed the motion to the Student Council, and the decision was moved to a Preferendum. Out of a valid poll of 3,504 students, 82% voted strongly against the implementation of Supplemental Fees.

However, the College Board decided to implement supplemental fees at a flat rate of €450.

The group said:

Last year College signed a student partnership agreement which established students as stakeholders. Trinity’s decision to introduce supplemental exam fees is evidence of their continuing disregard for students, their opinions, and their welfare.

On Friday 9 March, the students blockaded the college’s Front Arch and shut down the Book of Kells for two hours. Today, they have escalated their actions to an occupation of Trinity’s historic Dining Hall.

We have a body of students in the Dining Hall who have secured the building. The occupation is to show College that we will no longer stand for the commercialisation of students.

A ‘Take Back Trinity’ rally took place in TCD’s front square at 1pm in order to support the team occupying the Dining Hall.

TakeBackTrinity 3 (09_03_18) Source: Take Back Trinity

The group has given a list of demands to the University, which includes:

  • “Supplemental exam fees be scrapped with a written and minuted declaration produced promising that supplemental exam fees shall never be introduced or reintroduced in future.”
  • “Affordable rental options for the full academic year to be introduced and offered for all students. Rent increases for any and all student accommodation provided by Trinity will be rejected and condemned.”
  • “No more increases to any student fees, in any form. We condemn and reject recent fee hikes for postgraduate and international students. We demand that these fees are no longer to be discussed or amended in an annual review.”

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Students’ Union President Kevin Keane said that he is due to meet with the college’s Vice Provost shortly on the issue, where he will lay out the demands.

“We are not for compromising,” he said. “The student voice has been completely thrown to the side on this issue.”

Trinity College Dublin said it will shortly be releasing a statement on the protest.

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