RECENT DECISION TO INCREASE ON CAMPUS RENT BY OVER 12% OVER 3 YEARS
For the attention of the President of UCD, Professor Andrew J. Deeks, and members of the UCD University Management Team (UMT).
We write to you on behalf of UCD students. We are responding to your recent decision to increase rents of our on-campus student accommodation by over 12% over the next 3 years, and to introduce an average of 1,000 euro premium on top of rents in the new accommodation, currently being built. As Officers of the Students' Union, we are demanding that you retract this decision at the next UMT meeting, on Tuesday the 18th of February.
Under the current housing crisis, the Students’ Union has a strong mandate against rent increases on campus. We believe that the University must play a greater role in helping students cope with the spiralling costs of living and of accommodation in Dublin. Not to make decisions that exacerbate this issue. As per the presentation which our President delivered to you in October 2019, the impacts of financial and housing pressures on our students and their mental health are incredibly concerning. The University has a duty to mitigate these impacts.
At the moment, UCD claims the title for the most expensive on-campus accommodation in the country. The average rent on campus is 975 euro per month, and 8,778 euro for 9 months. This rent covers a single room and shared kitchen facilities. If the rent increase is maintained, by 2022 the average rent on campus will be 1,097 euro per month, and 9,874 per 9 months. And, the most expensive accommodation will be 13,038 euro. This is unacceptable. How can we expect students and their families to have this kind of money, on top of college fees, just to attend our University? We are the largest University in Ireland, aspiring to set international best practice. Surely, we can do better than this. We are a public institution, not a business.
As the University Management Team, the powers that you hold have incredible potential to improve the student experience on our campus. We believe that the decision you made last Tuesday goes against UCD’s aims as a public institution. It also goes against UCD’s Strategy objective to provide an inclusive education and it has caused significant reputational damage to our University. Your decision has made UCD appear as though it does not care about how the housing crisis is affecting its students, but rather sees it as an opportunity to dig deeper into students’ pockets. We have to do better than that.
In response to this situation, UCD Students’ Union is demanding:
- An immediate retraction of the decision to increase on-campus rents.
- A reduction of on-campus accommodation rent, to bring it in line with the average cost of on-campus accommodation in higher education institutions in Ireland.
- A commitment to deliver affordable accommodation under Phase 3 of the Residential Masterplan.
- The establishment of a student rental-assistance fund for students who are struggling to pay their rent on and off campus.
- The establishment of an annual UCD Accommodation Survey, to measure the impact of the housing crisis on our students and to inform future decisions related to housing support for UCD students.
Additionally, as the core stakeholders on this campus, we hope that in the future you will provide the students of UCD with an opportunity to be heard before making decisions which impact on our experience and the reputation of our University in such a direct way. We look forward to your response on this issue.
UCD Students’ Union, 2019/2020