Students Protesting Rent Hike Denied Access to University Club

Image Credit: Elly Dzhungurova

A rally organised by UCD Students’ Union, Fix Our Education UCD and UCD Anti-Casualisation marched to The University Club this morning, with approximately 150 students in attendance. 

The group met in the quad outside the New Student Centre, picking up more students as they marched towards the lake. Once outside the University Club, the group attempted to gain access to the club, but building security barred the door. One student who held the doors open was grabbed by the scruff of the neck by a member of staff attempting to move him from the doorway. 

Students chanted “Let us in!”, “Deeks out, students in” and “Fuck your lattes”, in reference to the expensive food and drink on offer in the University Club, seen by the protesters as an elitist institution seen to be emblematic of the perceived mismanagement of funds within UCD. The €14m cost was highlighted by students who spoke to the Observer.

Joanna Siewierska, UCDSU President, and Ruairí Power, from Fix Our Education UCD, gained access to the upper floor, where they attempted to hang a banner reading “NOT A BUSINESS” before leaving to rejoin the main group below. 

Speaking to The University Observer Power said “We initially just said we were going to the bathroom to get access to the building - we were hoping to get access to the roof but we couldn’t find the fire exit. The closest we got was to the main window. The staff inside were quietly supportive. They did have their job to do and they wanted us out, but there was a strong sense of solidarity between the staff inside there. There is a huge issue on campus where some staff aren’t being paid properly, there are precarious working conditions, so there is a huge amount of sympathy. The issue of commercialisation is affecting staff and students alike.” 

Speaking to The University Observer Siewierska spoke about what the next action would be “Reaction from management is first. Do they respond to us? What do management have to say? We have a petition going around and the petition is almost at 500 signatures after a few days, so we’re going to keep pushing that, I think until the next Governing Authority. We’ll see if a petition and continued direct action have any impact on management and if not we’ll keep escalating. The plan is the exact same as it always was, keep acting and see if they’ll respond.” 

Power was more militant in tone, stating that “we are building, this is not the endgame, this is just the start of it. We will have to move towards more militant actions if the university continues to not listen to the concerns of the students.”