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UCD students pitch tents as part of rent hike protest

Aine O'Boyle

UCD students protested a recent decision by University Management to increase the cost of campus rent by 12 per cent over the next three years by pitching tents at main entrance last week.

The protest took place on Thursday (February 27) between 8.30am and 2pm to highlight the ongoing campaign by UCD students and the Students’ Union in calling for the reverse of the rent increase.

According to UCDSU President, Joanna Siewierska: “The campus rents in UCD have increased by 76 per cent over the last decade.

“As the UCD Students’ Union, we will not agree to the status quo on this issue.

“These rent increases are locking young people out of access to higher education and must be reversed immediately.”

This latest action comes as part of a series of protest last week that saw UCD students campaigning outside UCD’s Governing Authority meeting on the same day.

Students dressed in t-shirts with slogans that read ‘#notabusiness’ and “Stop the Rent Increase’.

UCD sabbatical officers, Joanna Siewierska, Brian Treacy and Úna Carroll currently sit on the Governing Authority.

According to the Students’ Union, they remain in absolute disagreement with the University Management Team as to whether or not the rent increases are justified.

UCDSU said in a statement: “This decision will have a major impact on the 4,000 students who will be living on campus next year.

“We are infuriated that despite the ongoing housing crisis, our University continues pursuing an agenda of increasing rents and using on-campus accommodation.

Those protesting said they had several demands, including a reversal of the 12 per cent increase of campus rents; and a commitment from management to engage much earlier with student representatives in conducting rent reviews and budget allocations for student support.

The UCD protests come as a series of rent increases are taking place in across the country.

UCD University Management Team made the decision to increase the cost of campus accommodation by four per cent per year for the next three academic years at the beginning of February.

According to a UCD management spokesperson, the rent hike was designed to “secure adequate funding for the maintenance of existing on-campus student accommodation and the provision of 3,000 new beds”.

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