On the morning of November 12th, 492 students of the Smurfit Business school penned a letter to the Dean of Business, Professor Anthony Brabazon, and Director of the Smurfit Business School, Professor Gerardine Doyle, demanding a reduction of fees for the current academic year.
The letter, which has been seen by The University Observer, outlines two demands: “A one-time reduction of 30% of the total fees for all current students for the academic year 2020-2021”; and “That the University make it a priority to convince the government to provide students with at least the minimum weekly compensation from the existing relief funds”.
The letter does not make a direct threat of the withholding of fees but does state “We are not alone in feeling that we have been treated as sources of revenue before being treated as students. We stand in solidarity with the Graduate Entry Medicine (GEM) students who have decided to withhold their fees until their School reverses its fee increases”. It is understood fees will be withheld if demands aren’t met, but that the signatories are hopeful for a resolution that is “equitable to the students and the University both”.
The reason for the demands outlined in the letter is that “[The impact of Covid-19] was exacerbated by the wildly optimistic promises of a “blended” trimester made by University management over the summer months, on the basis of which many of us braved international travel amid a global pandemic, only to arrive directly into a lockdown. This has made many of us feel that we are being treated as a source of revenue first and as students second”.
The letter further states “We also would like to highlight that we, as Smurfit students, do not want to get involved in any activity that might tarnish UCD’s international reputation. We are proud to have been admitted to this esteemed institution. However, we, alongside the student ambassadors who have included their names on this letter, will not hesitate to share our honest experiences".
UCD have not yet responded to the letter.