Dear Board of Trinity College Dublin,
It has come as a shock to the entire College community that Provost Linda Doyle has broken the sanctity of an election time promise, showing a total lack of respect to students and staff alike. Senior management is putting forward an annual 2.3% tuition fee increase for all cohorts starting 2023/24 for 4 years, affecting non-EU and postgraduates, and hurting students who already face the cost of commuting, unaffordability of accommodation and the rising cost of living. Please see here a video of the commitment to not increase fees during the provostial election hustings. This hike is coming to tomorrow’s Board meeting, of which you are all members and the foremost decision-makers of College. Recommended by the Finance Committee, the personification of capital within our university, this decision is bound to be railroaded through.
That is unless you, as an elected member of our community, publicly and loudly dissent. While democracy within our institution has been eroded over years of corporatization, burgeoning bureaucracy and the centralization of power within the hands of senior management, you can still use these formal structures to stand by the many students and staff who are affected by College’s incessant drive for profit. We ask that you resist.
We ask that you resist for all of us who are vulnerable and will be further thwarted from accessing education. Students are being evicted. Students are struggling to pay for groceries. Students are being left behind. The pandemic has only made the issue so much worse. Academica is growing increasingly elitist and inaccessible, only further disenfranchising a diverse student population. Rent hikes, the student contribution fee, and international fees, all of which have gradually but greatly increased over the past decades, have made it so that students struggle to pay College-related expenses. Many take up part-time jobs or student loans, but even this is not enough.
In our College, during the pandemic, more than 250 students were in rent or fees arrears. An increase in fees of 2.3% annually for 4 years will only further cement the for-profit model of College and hurt the most vulnerable in our community, who are already under immense financial strain. A non-EU student doing a standard 4-year undergraduate degree will have to undergo a 10% fee increase during their stay at College.
College’s over-reliance on the fee-paying model highlights the immediate need for government investment. Delivery of free, public and accessible education should be a national priority. Locking people out of education creates a system where not everyone can participate. But firstly, let us face the fact that our university’s priorities do not lay with the wellbeing of our community. Increasing fees affects us all, in one way or another, and hurts those among us who are most vulnerable.
Provost Linda Doyle, if you keep making it impossible for students to go to College, who will fill campus? There will only be fancy capital projects left, and nothing else.
Board of Trinity College Dublin, don’t let down your students, your staff and your community.
We, the students and staff of our institution, will not stand idly by as our lives are subjugated to the interests of capital.
Students 4 Change
is an alliance of Marxist and Anarchist students from Trinity College Dublin focused on the housing crisis in relation to student accommodation, Irish neutrality, SU reform and other matters of student politics. Go on our website students4change.eu, follow us on social media or email us at [email protected]!