Trinity College students protest increased fees

DUBLIN— Entrances were blocked and buildings were occupied as protests rang out across the campus at Trinity College starting around 8:50 a.m. Tuesday, March 13th.

The Trinity College dining hall was occupied by the students during a protest.

The school board voted two weeks ago to implement a 450 euro fee for retaking exams, which resulted in campuswide student protests. Trinity students began to organize protests that shut down several popular campus locations.

A group of students met that same week and formed Take Back Trinity to protest the increases in fees for international and postgraduate programs and on-campus housing costs in addition to the exam fee.

“Many people can’t pay the normal cost, and the majority just can not pay these added fees,” said Aine O’Gorman, a 24-year-old sociology student.

The actions of the group have had some success in inconveniencing everyday life at Trinity, including temporarily shutting down visits to its popular tourist attraction, the Book of Kells; blocking multiple entrances to the school, including the front gate; and taking over the dining hall.

The dining hall occupation led to a confrontation in which students were locked in the building without food, water or restroom access for a period of time, according to local news reports.

But not everyone agreed with the protest. Those in the opposition say students should study harder for exams to avoid the fee.

The protestors don’t see that as realistic.

“Some majors have 16 exams over two weeks,” genetics student Avril Reddy, 19, said. “That’s two exams everyday for ten days— almost everyone fails at least one.”

Students march across campus after occupying different buildings to culminate at the dining hall.

In addition to the fees, many protestors voiced anger in the fact that students were not being listened to. They felt the decision was made without the opinions or needs of the students taken into consideration.

“Our broad vision is for the students to have more of a democratic say in what happens at their school,” graduate student and protestor Jimmy Donohoe said.

The entire protest and actions of the Take Back Trinity group are to ensure the well-being of the student body.

Even during this protest, the group wanted to make student safety a priority, O’Gorman said, motioning to the neon vests she and some classmates were wearing.

O’Gorman’s voice was drowned out by chanting, “No ifs, no buts, no education cuts!”

As of Thursday, March 15, the protests were ongoing, and students held a free concert to draw student involvement.