We at The University Observer believe that there is every chance that UCD Management had no intention of returning to campus.
We believe that the lack of communication, mess with registration, and general disdain for academic staff and students all lay-bare the University's apathy for student presence on campus.
It is not surprising that students will not return to campus. Unfortunately the pandemic which has swept the globe and upturned societies and economies does not appear to be ebbing. In no reality would it be reasonable to require 30,000 students come in and out of UCD everyday - using public transport, travelling from all parts of the island, putting themselves, their families, and the country at unnecessary risk. However, what we take issue with is that UCD insisted that students should expect to return, despite every indicator and criticism that it was blatantly unrealistic.
Students are suffering. Many of our friends, siblings, and peers are struggling with the monotony of working from home through a screen. We do not place blame on the tutors, lecturers, and professors of UCD who for the most part are doing their utmost to provide an education in difficult circumstances.
While, regardless of what the University was saying in June, this was always going to be the case, it does not help that staff and students’ hopes were raised by the university, who appear to have had no intention of keeping their promise. How convenient that a lockdown was announced just days before the proposed return to campus. The investigation published on our front page spells out the myriad of reasons we at the University Observer find it hard to believe this was just an unfortunate coincidence.
And perhaps the students studying at home are the lucky ones. Countless members of our staff and contributors have moved to Dublin, signing long leases under the pretence they will have some in-person tuition. Whatever about Irish students, students coming from other countries must feel especially cheated. They had no choice, they could not commute to Dublin for the day to do a single tutorial. They had to move to Ireland, not knowing what was to come, as their ‘scheduled classes’ required in-person attendance.
The university is a corporation, and unfortunately that’s what it all comes down to. Money. While clearly there is a perennial funding problem with our Higher Education system if the institution is forced to lie to students in order to garner enough funds for the year. However, that is no excuse.
“The mission of UCD is to advance knowledge, to pursue truth and to foster learning, in an atmosphere of discovery, creativity and innovation, drawing out the best in each student and contributing to the social, cultural and economic life of Ireland in the wider world”. We at the University Observer believe words are cheap. For the autumn trimester of 2020, UCD’s cheap words have been very lucrative.