Trinity students vow to continue protest for "as long as it takes"

The students have occupied the college's historic dining hall

Trinity students vow to continue protest for "as long as it takes"

Students protest at Trinity College, 13-03-2018. Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews

Updated 20:00

Students at Trinity College in Dublin have said they will continue to protest against the introduction of repeat exam fees for "as long as it takes."

The students have been blockaded inside the college's historic dining hall since this afternoon.

The protests also saw them blocking off two entrances to the university as well as access to the Book of Kells.

Trinity has insisted the €450 euro charge is to help students save time and money.

But these students don't see it that way:

The group are protesting against a plan to introduce a flat-rate charge for repeat exams.

The college plans to bring in the charge – despite 82% of students voting against it.

The protesters are insisting the introduction of the fee demonstrates Trinity's "continuing disregard for students, their opinions, and their welfare." 

Trinity's Vice Provost, Professor Chris Morash, admits the demonstration has taken him by surprise:

"At the moment if a student fails their first exam and they fail their supplementals, the only option to them is to repeat the entire year - including things that they have already passed," he said.

"They have to pay for that so that would be about €6,000.

"With the new proposal, they would only pay for the things that they have actually failed."

Demonstrators have vowed to continue to continue their blockade of the dining hall for as long as necessary.

Student Stacy Wren said that she would be unable to afford a repeat exam if the new fees are introduced:

“As a SUSI student, I am protesting partly because of myself and because I understand I am not exempt from paying it,” she said.

“Even though the Government recognises that my family can’t afford to pay for me to go to University and they pay my fees and I get a maintenance grant of €330 – College doesn’t care.

“College wants me to pay that €450, even though that is more than a month’s maintenance grant for me.

“And, we are tired.”

This afternoon’s protest comes after students succeeded in shutting down two entrances to the university - including access to the Book of Kells - last Friday.

The protesters have insisted that students will no longer stand for the commercialisation of their education.

They have vowed to oppose any increase to accommodation fees, postgraduate or international fees and to campaign for the provision of full academic year rental accommodation.

They have launched an online petition and website to gather support for their campaign.