An alliance of political groups based in UCD have begun a poster campaign which is calling upon the college’s management to address issues such as disability services, affordable accommodation and improved mental health services. The group, which calls itself ‘Fix our Education UCD’, is a collaboration of UCD’s Labour, Social Democrat, Óige Ghlas and Socialist Worker Student Societies. Speaking exclusively to the College Tribune, Fix our Education explained that UCD need to “put the welfare of students at the heart of spending decisions”.
The group’s posters brought attention to the fact that UCD spent €960,000 on “luxury flights” and “only €1,006,000 on Student Health and Counselling”. The group also questioned how UCD can afford to spend 7.5 million euros redecorating the office of UCD President Andrew Deeks, a further 14 million euros building a private club for UCD alumni and achieve a budget surplus of 30 million euros while simultaneously failing to properly fund campus mental health services. The campaign is challenging UCD’s budgetary decisions around the affordability of “on-campus accommodation” which they claim is the most expensive in Ireland. The group is highlighting UCD’s recent budget surpluses during a period in which they claim the university’s student population “have experienced a massive rise in the cost of living”.
Speaking to the Tribune, Fix our Education described the current state of campus disability services as “wholly inadequate” adding that the administration “has failed to properly resource the Access Centre and the Student Health and Counselling Centre”. The group is demanding solutions to the aforementioned issues stating that “the Student Union has made reasonable and achievable suggestions to provide subsidised accommodation on campus, and properly resource essential student welfare services”. According to the group, these recommendations have been “largely ignored and disregarded”.
The campaign’s full list of demands can be found on their Facebook page, Fix our Education UCD. The poster campaign is the first step in a series of actions which the group will be undertaking in the coming weeks to fight for affordable housing and other essential campus services.
Hugh Dooley – Reporter