The UCDSU is currently hosting its #ItsNotMeItsUCD protest on the UCD campus outside O’Reilly hall. An estimate of around 500 is in attendance to protest against the “sky-high rents” of on-campus student accommodation and the rising commercialization of the college.
Speaking to the College Tribune before the protest, UCDSU President Ruairí Power said that he hopes the protest will generate “as much student mobilization as possible” arguing that “urgent change” is needed to combat the rising commercialization of the college. The union argued that this trend “poses an existential risk” to the experience of students in UCD.
Opening the protest, Power highlighted the unaffordable rents students are paying, the rising costs of living and the backlog faced by the UCD counselling service. Following his address, UCDSU welfare officer, Molly Greenough lead chants of “when student rights are under attack, stand up fight back.”
In an effort to promote today’s demonstration, last week, officers of the UCDSU sabbatical team have dropped a banner from the Newman building saying “Nothing sexy about commercialization.” This alarmed the UCD Estate Services, who asked SU officers to alight from the rain covers on the concourse, citing a lack of risk assessment. Estate Services declined to give a comment to The College Tribune.
The protest is backed by IFUT UCD and SIPTU and also support from students on campus. Speaking about today’s protest, The Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) said: “The concerns raised by the Students Union overlap with the issues IFUT has been campaigning on for years, namely the use of casual and precarious labour (including postgraduate students) in the delivery of modules, and the prevailing of corporate interests over staff and students.”
Conor Paterson – Co-Editor