Nod and Wink Rampant in Residence

Originally published in Volume II, Issue 2 on 12th October 1995 by Paul Doherty. Residence Administrator, A.J. Nicholl has denied that queue jumping and favouritism are rife in the application process for the Belgrove, Merville and Blackrock residences. However, the University Observer has learned that many residents attribute their place in the student villages to pressure and influence exerted behind the scenes.Various residents of both student villages report being helped get a flat by the governing body members, county councillors, college staff, residence employees and Pierce Contracting. Other residents claimed they had skipped the queue by having their parents and relatives put pressure on the residence administrators. The University Observer has also learned that two non students live for a number of weeks at the start of term in the Blackrock residence. Mr. Tony Nicholl, Residence Administrator, denied the allegations by claiming that these rumours could have been begun by people who applied late for on campus accommodation and were bitter at being refused. He claims that the system is carried out in a fair and egalitarian manner. Places are set aside for the American Junior Year Abroad and European Erasmus schemes and for students from Botswana and Malaysia before the lottery. He maintains that the only way the whole system could be abused is by these organisations distributing places unfairly. When asked if he would make exceptions of students who pleaded for places he replied that the only people who had received special consideration were disabled applicants. Mr. Nicholl went on to say that he did not feel there was a huge demand for accommodation through his office .He said that there were few students beyond first year who wanted places and that this year only two hundred first years were disappointed. Mr. Rory Whelan, one of the three students on the housing committee, claims that Mr. Nicholl’s lottery is nothing like as democratic as it is supposed to be. He quotes an R.A. from last year as saying that accommodation is allocated to whoever made the least trouble the previous year in residence. Mr.Whelan believes that it is not coincidental that of the three students on the Housing Committee, all of whom applied for accommodation this year, the two most vocal members, namely himself and Mr. Ivan McAvinchey were unsuccessful in their applications.