It was recently revealed that Trinity College Dublin has approved measures to implement a 5% increase to postgraduate tuition fees beginning from next year. In response to this, at a meeting of the Graduate Students' Union, the council voted to explore the possibility of a strike as a means of voicing their opposition to the increases.
The College Finance Committee's decision to increase postgraduate fees by 5% was met with widespread disdain when it was announced. At the council meeting the president of the GSU, Shane Collins, denounced the decision, labelling it "an absolute disgrace". The proposed changes are set to affect all postgraduate courses, with the increase to annual fees being the same for single-year and multi-year courses.
He described how many students, particularly post-graduate students, attempt to self-fund their way through their courses and are thus being disproportionately affected by these increases. He said that in the wake of the announced fee increases, he received numerous emails from PhD students in their first and second years, asking about how they could drop out in time to ensure they didn't have to pay next year's tuition fee.
He continued by saying that "postgraduate students are not going to be the cash cow for this issue any longer".
The decision to consider strike action for postgraduate students would affect teaching throughout the college as many postgraduate students work as teaching assistants. The fact that postgraduate students in these positions often receive less than minimum wage and are not categorised officially as employees of the college was inextricably tied into the issue.
Striking would be a drastic step, that has not happened in the college for many years, but would undoubtedly place the power firmly with the postgraduate students.
H/T: The University Times