The leisure space formerly known as ‘An Cuas’ has been replaced by an extension of the Arts & Humanities Programme Desk. This summer development has gained much student backlash and occurred without the prior consent of UCDSU. SU President Joanna Siewierska has said the space is ‘not what it used to be.’ The SU has plans in place to develop the Newman Basement area in response to the loss of seating.
The seating area has now been replaced by the Arts & Humanities Programme Desk and Student Advisor Offices. The development occurred during the summer with students to return to UCD with this surprise discovery. In an interview with the Tribune, Siewierska said in response to claims that the SU agreed to this development in advance: ‘No, we were not told of this. We weren’t consulted, we weren’t told. We noticed it when we were grabbing coffee in Newman.’
Siewierska went on to say, ‘I know there have been developments, there is renovations going on in Newman, but we have not been part of the consultation for what those developments should be.’ When asked if UCDSU is planning on any new seating areas to be introduced, Siewierska responded ‘We are working actively with the Estate Services in Newman and with the management staff in the building and are now looking for an alternative student space, […] we are looking at the Newman Basement and how that can be improved as a student space.’
To find out more about how UCD students feel about the Arts & Humanities Student Desk development, we took to the halls of UCD to find out.
Philsoc Auditor Katia Papageorgiou said ‘As a society that wants to rebuild itself [UCD Philsoc] we were planning on running our coffee mornings there [An Cuas]. The fact that this happened without any of the student body’s consent or previous notice is completely unacceptable.’
Paddy Flynn said, ‘It’s reflective of the policy of President Deeks, the college is becoming too business orientated. It’s not pro-students it’s pro-money. It’s pro-his-agenda, which is about making profits, very much like [Hugh] Brady his predecessor. [We’re] not really student orientated anymore. We’re not seeing anything being pushed for that’s benefitting students. They’re getting rid of places where we can relax and study. The library is still not 24 hours yet. They’re spending all this money to establish a private club, to kick the teachers out of their own faculty, so I’d be against it [Arts & Humanities Programme Desk development].’
In response to SU not being informed about the development in advance, Darragh Kane O’Toole said, ‘that’s very UCD-like of a thing to happen that no one with any real use of the facility was asked about said facility being gotten rid of completely.’
Clodagh Scott said, ‘It’s a disaster. We need An Cuas. An Cuas is the quiet space in Newman. It’s off the corridor, there’s no traffic passing by, it’s key.’
Roisin Ryan said, ‘I feel like there’s not as many places just to sit and chill out with your friends anymore. There’s no place to sit with big groups really. We’ve all migrated to Quinn which is lovely.’
Emily McMeehan said, ‘When you first come in you just see the arts office, it’s not unwelcoming but you just kind of feel like it’s way more academic or serious than it was usually when you would see people milling around. You can definitely see more people sitting on the floor now, along the side of lecture theatres.’
Jennifer Leff said, ‘I do think lack of common study spaces where you can actually talk rather than the library is vital to educational development.’
Conor Capplis – Editor