Res gates to close early due to incidents following USI protest

The head of UCD Residential Services has taken the decision for residency complexes to close their gates two hours early as a result of night-time disturbances on the night of November 3rd, following the USI protest.

Head of UCD Residential Services, Richard Brierley, circulated an email to residents the following day, to notify them that in future, accommodation complexes would close their gates at 10pm.

The email cited “problems over the past number of weeks with anti-social behaviour across all residences” as the reason the decision had been taken, saying that on the previous night: “Over 30 deliberate fire alarm activations occurred, items were being thrown from windows, the access gates in Belgrove were vandalised, fire extinguishers were let off in common areas, and a bottle was smashed over a student’s head.”

A student living in Belgrove told The University Observer that “our alarms went off several times in a week. One night it went off twice. We were standing out in the cold for at least 20 minutes, waiting for someone to come and fix the alarm. And we were back inside our house and two minutes afterwards, the alarms went off again.”

The student also cited other problems such as instances of “graffiti on windows” and said that response of the Residential Assistants (RAs) to the activation of the fire alarms was inadequate: “We kind of got a bit of abuse from the people minding us in Belgrove,” he said. “We were all wearing pyjamas. It couldn’t have been us. We were asleep.”

A student who was present in Merville on the night in question told The University Observer that “people were running around. Fire extinguishers were put off into one of the sitting rooms and everyone had to leave.” The student also said that they can recall at least three incidents in that one night in which fire alarms were activated.

With regards the RA’s response to the presence of non-residents on campus, the student said: “The RA came into one of the apartments, but everyone just moved to a different apartment.”

Brierley added in his email: “Decisive action needs to be taken immediately to ensure that the behaviour of a minority does not negatively impact on, not just the safety and welfare of all of you, but your ability to live in a fun yet secure environment.”

The disturbances have been linked to the policy of allowing non-residents access to residencies after hours: “While guest policies will remain unaffected, there is a need to secure access earlier at 22:00 to deter non-residences who are causing problems.”

While the measure has not been confirmed as a permanent fixture, Brierley said: “We will launch a feedback process on anti-social behaviour, safety and security this month and we will review the decision taken on an on-going basis.”