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Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019
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UCD students complain of lack of respect on campus

The university’s students’ union claim rights are being infringed upon on UCD residence.

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A CAMPAIGN HAS been launched at University College Dublin (UCD) to highlight complaints that students’ rights are being infringed on campus.

The UCD Students’ Union said it will hold the campaign to stand up for those who live in student accommodation at the Belfield site.

According to the group, those who live on campus are not treated with the same respect as they would be entitled to if they were living in private residences.

“What is occurring on campus at the moment is unacceptable with students being made to feel that they are not residents but rather a nuisance to campus authorities,” said UCDSU president Micheál Gallagher.

Key concerns related to a ‘license to reside’ which live-in students must sign when they agree to live on campus.

The union believes the presence of cameras in student homes is a “breach of privacy” and “would be illegal in any other type of accommodation”. It also claims that the cameras are used to observe and record students.

Further to the cameras, those in authority are allowed enter apartments at any time, which is a different arrangement to private residence where a landlord should give 24 hours noted before visiting.

The licence provides for fines that are handed down for various misdemeanors that occur while living on campus. According to the students, the charges are “extortionately high” and UCD Residence retained €105,000 during the 2011-2012 academic year.

“UCD residence has more ways of fining students living on campus than any other university in Ireland,” the group added in a statement, suggesting that the college is “looking to profiteer” from already struggling students.

The appeals process for the fines is also unfair, they say, as the person who hands down the fine is also the person in charge of the appeal. The process can also lead to a penalty being increased.

Gallaghers says the union is demanding a renegotiation of the ‘license to reside’ in the summer of 2014 to rectify the problems.

The problem has been exacerbated by the shortage of appropriate housing in Dublin, says welfare and equality officer Cian Dowling.

“Many students are desperate to live on campus and as such will sign anything to be close to campus,” he added. “UCD should not take advantage of this situation to fine students and make them feel as if they cannot enjoy their time in UCD residence.”

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