SU President lashes Universities over horror treatment of TU students

'When it comes to what I would argue are tangible improvements that don't involve us smiling in front of a camera, they are very reluctant to help us'

by Rachel Cunningham
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Rachel Cunningham

The President of the TU Dublin student union has lashed university channels for not putting students first.

Having entered into his second term as Student Union (SU) President on July 1, Brian Jordan told the Dublin Gazette that he frustrated with the failures of those in charge to see the bigger picture.

“A prime example would be simple things like microwaves for students which took nine months and a threat of a protest, to install. I have emails going back five years trying to find an appropriate resolution to this issue.

“There was kind of a condescending tone regarding this request and I fail  to understand why you would ignore the students’ union because all it’s going to do is make us believe that the system doesn’t work and that’s when more radical action takes place. This type of action damages the reputation of the university, which benefits no one.”

Mr Jordan said that working in genuine partnership with the students’ union would be beneficial for the university and would give the union the time to look outwards, towards the government. 

“I feel the government discriminates against technological universities,” said the SU president. 

“Just a fraction of recent funding for building student accommodation was given to all the technological universities to investigate how they might build accommodation versus the likes of UCD and Trinity, etc.

 “This felt like a slap in the face because the Grangegorman TU Dublin campus actually has the potential for accommodation to be built.

 “The university can’t borrow money because there is no framework in place and even if there was, the cost of paying this back would be so high that they’d have to charge students extortionate rent. 

“We need the government to make a significant capital investment into both universities and technological universities to build purpose built accommodation. 

“They can set the rent at a reasonable limit, build a minimum standard and put protective legislation in place. It sounds oversimplified but these things are achievable.

 “To highlight this discrimination, I’ve been going through the USI, the national students’ union channel, we’ve set up a technological university working group and we’ve been working with various political parties to ask these questions but the process is quite slow.

“Then you get pulled back down to earth when there’s an issue on campus whereby the university won’t provide basic amenities for students.”

Whether it’s a demand for microwaves or the rise in canteen prices, Mr Jordan’s highlights that every small cost matters to students.

“On the surface, these are small issues, they could even seem silly, but when we make comments about larger scale problems, like the cost-of-living crisis, unions are criticised for discussing vague problems.

 “How can any student afford 1100 euro per month? On top of 3000 euro worth of fees? Not to mention transport and food. And that’s assuming they never get sick, never buy a single cup of coffee and never dare to buy lunch,” he stated. 

He described the TU Dublin Cost-Of-Living Guide as a source of concern for vulnerable students, particularly those from overseas.

“If something is labelled ‘Dublin’, I think most people would assume that the guide was relevant to Dublin,” he commented.

“What this guide contains is an artificial estimation of rent per month for Dublin. When I met with representatives of Student Services, I was told that the estimation was a countrywide average, which made little sense to me. 

“Most students are not going to read the appendix, they’ll read the headline. My concern is that this is misleading to students, particularly international students, who we know are a huge source of income to universities.”

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