Social media has been awash with frustration and disappointment as UCD and NUIG students alike react to the lack of on-campus contact hours following the release of universities’ timetables. In some cases, programmes have been moved fully online despite promises from both UCD and NUIG to the contrary.
NUIG students have directed their frustrations on the ‘NUIG Confessions’ Twitter page – an anonymous forum – where personal reactions to this latest development have been shared. One user commented that, “Okay so I’m spending 1.3 hours on campus for one of my subjects and NUIG is going to REALLY ask us for the same fees as they would if we were on campus all the time?” Others expressed their disbelief at NUIG’s encouragement to book accommodation despite the lack of on-campus interaction, “NUIG told us to get accommodation in Galway and now I find out I’m on campus for 2 hours a week?!” and “I’ll only be on-campus for maybe 12 hours all together in sem1 [semester 1] and I have to pay 3k???” Other submissions echo these sentiments with some calling for a boycott of tuition fees in protest.
Not to be confined to NUIG, UCD students have also been dismayed by the projected lack of on-campus interaction. In a recent press statement, UCD Students’ Union President, Conor Anderson, commented that “it is unfortunately not a surprise” at the volume of students contacting the SU and “airing their disappointment that their course is now being fully delivered online with no in-person component whatsoever”. Anderson cited the “overpromising” and “exaggerated” estimates made by UCD Management during the course of the summer which claimed first in July that, “undergraduates could expect an average of 40-60% of their courses to be in-person and on-campus. Graduate students were told to expect between 75-100% of their learning to be in-person”. This was later revised in August, “indicating that undergraduates could expect anywhere between 30% and 70%, but for graduate students, those numbers were slashed to between 20% and 86%”.
UCDSU has stated that they will await the release of all timetables on September 7th before they “call on UCD management to communicate clearly how many courses will be fully delivered online and to explain to students why they are not following through on the promised face-to-face time”.
Rowan Kelleher – Assistant News Editor