Maynooth University decided to scrap all plans surrounding construction of the previously promised student centre causing upset among students. The announcement was made on 26th September after an autonomous decision was made by the university’s Governing Authority. Students and alumni have been paying an increased student levy on top of original student contribution fees, assumed to be going towards this student centre since 2015.
Since the announcement was made, Maynooth Student Union have mobilised to express their displeasure with the university’s decision. The university explained the decision was a result of rising costs and hyperinflation. A university walk out was arranged on 6th October by the SU and attended by more than a thousand students.
In a statement at the walk-out the Maynooth SU explained that the student body is angry because the levy was passed “to promise the future students of Maynooth important student facilities.”
A final year student at Maynooth expressed their disappointment to the College Tribune explaining how there’s a current lack of student facilities on campus.
“Currently the facilities are Pugin Hall on the south campus and Phoenix Area on the north campus as well as some seating areas in John Hume and the Arts building but there’s just not enough to accommodate [everyone], especially with the large numbers of commuters now in Maynooth.”
They went on to say that, “Maynooth used to boast an extremely positive student-university relationship and culture, but recently it feels like we’re simply a money-making exercise. I feel somewhat let down by the university but the SU have been fantastic in their response to this and bringing it to the public.”
It’s not just current students bothered by what’s occurred, one recent graduate told the Tribune that they felt “the university could have handled this better, the whole country is going through a cost-of-living crisis. [T]he total sum of the student levy comes to €450, which is a lot of money for a student not to see it be put to its intended use.”
The Minister for Higher Education, Simon Harris, has reassured students that “no student levy money has in any way been lost” in a recent response to the Dáil. Maynooth University has promised “significant additional social spaces, meeting pods and seating, furniture and other infrastructure” in the weeks and months ahead. As to when the idea of a purpose-built student centre will be revisited, there’s no definite answer to that yet, but MSU seems intent on continuing to push for what was promised by university officials.
Maynooth Student Centre were reached out to for comment but failed to respond in time.
Lucy Mackarel – Assistant News Editor
Featured image belongs to Maynooth University. Original image can be found at: https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/news-events/statement-maynooth-university-mu-student-centre-project