Leftist students for social progress.

Category: TCD (Page 1 of 4)

A Year of Student Activism – 2021-2022

Our fight is against the corporatized “productive” education, constant evaluation of efficiency above equity coupled with solidarity to the the workers’ struggle and the democratic deficit of the capitalist system.

Re-opening protest for housing rights, face-2-face and hybrid learning for inclusivity and mental health.
Re-opening protest for housing rights, face-2-face and hybrid learning for inclusivity and mental health.
On the picture our Chairperson László Molnárfi and Jack Nolan. Re-opening protest for housing rights, face-2-face and hybrid learning for inclusivity and mental health.
Protest for mental health, public education and democracy outside Leinster House.
Delivering the #NoInPersonExams open letter with 5,000 student and staff signatures.
Fuck the Fees!
Protest against proposed fee increases.
Taking about the #StopHEABill22 campaign.

Together with Trinity GSU, TCDSU and others, we fought for the rights of student and staff. With our combined efforts, we managed to, for example, secure a better re-opening while advocating for hybrid learning, reveal investments in the war-industry, stop the structure on College Park and significantly reduce the amount of in-person exams. Onwards to next year!

QS Rankings are Bullshit

University league rankings are infused with a corporate ethos that push the neoliberalization of our institutions and seek to pit them against each other in cookie-cutter, numerical categories that reflect nothing about real conditions on-the-ground.

They consider research output as the most important factor.

We might as well be article-producing robots for all it cares.

Such rankings will never consider mental health supports, which lack at our College so severely that it has 40+ days waiting times, the cost of education, which was just increased by 10% for many over a 4-year period, or staff working conditions and casualization.

Neither will they ever consider that during the pandemic, the number of students in fee arrears shot up from around 20 to 250.

We have to call these surveys for what they are.

The QS ranking system can find its place alongside other forms of fake tools.

QQI, the so-called Quality and Qualifications Ireland, cares about quality of education insofar as the bottom line, how financially viable the way institutions run their courses is. They would not recognize that staff working conditions are student learning conditions and would never recommend making them better to improve our education.

StudentSurvey.ie is a corporate survey that pushes the same cookie-cutter logic as QS, and its equivalent the National Student Survey (NSS) is boycotted in the U.K. for corporatizing universities and raising tuition fees.

National Student Engagement Programme (NsTEP), a joint initiative of the QQI, Higher Education Authority (HEA) and the Union of Students Ireland (USI) and other so-called partnerships are fake. While they are taking away student representation on governing bodies of 60% of universities with the HEA Bill 2022, they pretend to “strengthen student engagement in decision-making across Irish higher education”. It is disgraceful.

Such initatives are empty promises on paper, like the Student Partnership Agreement (SPA) at Trinity, which seeks to reduce student representation into mere professionalized inputs into the bureaucratic machine rather than strengthen in so it can challenge the sociopolitical order of the world. It is great PR for those in charge but useless for students and staff.

Unfortunately, the USI and other stakeholders swear by these tools. This is unfortunate. We must have the political vision to imagine otherwise, a world in which it is truly the community voices that matter and not the fake initatives of the corporate world.

Who is against student representation? (HEA Bill 2022)

  • At a meeting of the Joint Committee on Further Education, student unions through the USI proposed to amend the HEA Bill 2022 to allow 2 to 3 student representatives instead of 2 on governing bodies.
  • This way, student unions like TCDSU would not lose that many officers on Board in the time of the aftershock of a pandemic, financial troubles and a mental health crisis.
  • Amendment 151 was voted down by 6 to 3. Who is on our side?

Simon Harris – Fine Gael – Wicklow – voted AGAINST.

Alan Farrell – Fine Gael – Dublin Finglas – voted AGAINST.

Paul Kehoe – Fine Gael – Wexford – voted AGAINST.

Jim O’Callaghan – Fianna Fáil – Dublin Bay South – voted AGAINST.

Pádraig O’Sullivan – Fianna Fáil – Cork North-Central – voted AGAINST.

Marc Ó Cathasaigh – Greens – Waterford – voted AGAINST.


Rose Conway-Walsh – Sinn Féin – Mayo – voted FOR.

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire – Sinn Féin – Cork – voted FOR.

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin – Labour – Dublin Bay North – voted FOR.

We will not forget their actions come election time.

Sign the petition!

#StopHEABill22

S4C Statement on 2.3% Fee Increase – Boycott the Student Partnership Agreement now!

This is our “student partnership”. After the recent defeat of the same proposal through the work of TCDSU, GSU and S4C, they kept re-running the vote at Board until they knew opposition would die, or those who dissent would be absent, and their agenda would be pushed through. Disgraceful.

A non-EU international student in Dublin can already be expected to pay around 30,000 to 40,000 euros just for the tuition fee and rented accommodation. That is insane. To have the audacity to further increase this is beyond comprehension. No wonder many leave after they get their degrees.

We know students who are being evicted, who are struggling to pay for groceries, and who are at risk of not getting their degrees due to the tuition fee arrears. 

According to an FOI request we filed, the number of students in rent or fee arrears shot up to 250 or so during the pandemic. In the face of this, our College has decided to further push us into precarity. The government’s complicity cannot be understated either, as they transformed our universities into for-profit businesses through decades of underfunding.

As a response, we need to boycott the Student Partnership Agreement, which is nothing but a piece of paper that offers students no protections, but is a great PR booster for College. To this end, we have launched a petition.

We invite the TCDSU to boycott the SPA, not just because of the fees, but because due to the HEA Bill 2022, we will lose the Education Officer and Welfare Officer from the Board in the time of the aftershock of a pandemic. Decisions like this will meet even less opposition. As such, we need decisive action.

We also invite the TCDSU to reconsider their political strategy. They should have organised a pre-emptive protest if they knew the 2.3% fee increase was imminent. However, they didn’t tell the union members, S4C, the GSU (who were ill at the time), or the press. 

We need to revisit our political strategy because what we are doing isn’t working.

Sign the petition!

The fee increase is a 2.3% over a 4-year period, with a fee freeze in 2022-2023 but starting in 2023-2024.

FOI Database

Students4Change has obtained a variety of FOIs over the years. We believe that open access to information leads to transparency, which means accountability, and accountability means a better-run University.

The FOIs relate to a wide-variety of topics, and everybody is welcome to add more. There are about 30 or so FOIs. A large chunk of them relate to Trinity, some to other universities, and some to the government. Feel free to use, it is for public consumption.

You can find them here on our Google Drive folder for FOIs.

We take submissions to the FOI Database at [email protected] !

Raise Your Voice: Transform Higher Education In Ireland (HEA Bill 2022)

The plan of the government for third-level education is abysmal. Firstly, there is no commitment to reducing the student fees. Secondly, the funding is less than half of what our universities need. Thirdly, the plan comes with strings attached through the HEA Bill 2022, which is essentially a government takeover to control academia.

Not only does the plan not include a reduction in the student fees, the state is taking over academia. In the over 300-page bill, the “Minister” is mentioned 321 times. He holds sway over universities’ equality policy. The same cabinet that is gifting away the National Maternity Hospital to the church will now hold this power.  He approves the budget of universities. The same neoliberal government that has decimated funding for our universities will now be able to control its finances. He will handpick people on governing bodies of universities. The same academic voices who are now dissenting will be finally muzzled. 

It is a crisis that the government themselves have created, and are now stepping in as saviours to fix it. They will not. They will further push their disastrous neoliberal agenda down our throats. 

Students and staff on the ground will be the most affected. The government promised no student loan system, but they cannot be trusted. They are playing the long game. Now that they will control academia, their policies cannot be stopped. We will be pushed to precarity. 

In line with government policy, there is not a single mention of mental health funding within the plan. Who controls the money will control the policy. Small courses will be cut. Programmes will be merged. Academics will lose their jobs.  

We would like to ask you to support the ongoing petition campaign by Students4Change and the Graduate Students’ Union of Trinity which demands to save the future of higher education in Ireland. Please see our detailed briefing on the issue here. Finally, please see our statement here, an email we sent to Trinity College Dublin here, and our email to TD template here. We are continuing this campaign that we first started in January 2022, see original statement here.

We would like to ask you to support the abolition of student fees, adequate funding for higher-education and protection of our universities’ autonomy. We need to stand up and make our voices heard and warn people of the impending catastrophe that will affect third-level education in Ireland for decades to come if this bill passes.

#StopHEABill22

Sign the petition!

Students Win Against 10% Fee Increase

Board of @trinitycollegedublin is discussing a 10% increase at the moment. We were not many at the protest today, but we will build until our numbers grow. Let’s unite with staff in opposition to the commercialization of academia and let’s protect our communities.

This fee increase will hurt the most vulnerable and presents a further barrier to accessing education. Students are being evicted because they can’t pay rent. Students are struggling to pay for groceries. Students are being left behind. The pandemic has only compounded this issue.  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 and their families (who may have also suffered unemployment because of Covid-19) 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.

We must organize in grassroots groups, political associations, trade unions. Corporatization must be resist. We cannot and will not yield.

Students4change COMMITTEE AFTER PROTEST, BEFORE HEARING NEWS THAT 9 board members dissented and the fee increase proposal was scrapped.

University Times article here.

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