Students at one of the country’s top universities are up in arms as hundreds face sharing “cramped” twin rooms after the university revealed it is doubling up on beds due to a lack of accommodation.
he University of Limerick has told students entering second and third year that they will only be able to apply for a twin room for the 2020/2021 academic year.
Final year students can apply for single bedrooms but only if they have lived in UL accommodation for the last three years.
In a statement, the university said the introduction of twin rooms will add 630 beds to its existing offering of 2,850.
So the University of Limerick has decided to hike rent rates by 3.5% and force any 2nd & 3rd years who want to live on-campus into really cramped potential unsafe accommodation designed for only one person
Thanks for exploiting students guys!
No plans to build any new rooms pic.twitter.com/gpS2uGsgVM
— Daniel O’Reilly (@dan0rei) February 21, 2020
However, the news has been met with outrage by students who have described the rooms as “prison cell-like”.
“Imagine paying thousands to have less room than a prison cell and no personal space,” one student said.
UL Student Life, the college’s students’ union, described the accommodation situation as “appalling”.
“This policy is in no way cognisant of the needs of second, third and fourth year students who require single semester housing,” said UL Student Life president Jack Scanlan.
“It is very clear that there is not enough accommodation for students at the University of Limerick, with solutions such as the doubling up of rooms being proposed.
“These rooms were never designed for two students.
“We are demanding that the university stops all plans to increase the student population until adequate infrastructure and services are in place to cater for the 16,300 students.
“Students cannot be the revenue generator for higher universities. Education is a right, not a privilege.”
Daniel O’Reilly (19), a first year architect student, said the twin rooms deny basic privacy.
“The rooms will be so cramped you can basically kick someone in their sleep.
“A lot of students are in limbo now as the announcement has come too late in the year and people have to try and find other options.”
Twin room costs will range from €2,800 to €4,250 per person.
Hundreds of students have signed a petition demanding that second and third year students not be limited to shared bedrooms.
In response to queries, the University of Limerick said shared rooms are being introduced in an attempt to meet unprecedented demand in the shortest possible timeframe amid a national housing crisis.
“The option for twin (sharing) will be significantly cheaper – in some cases up to 45pc cheaper – and offer a reduced price point for on-campus accommodation that has not previously existed,” the spokesperson said.
“A maximum of two bedrooms within an existing six-bedroom apartment in four of the villages will be retrofit for the shared accommodation (twin room) option. These will all be en-suite.
“Some students have requested the twin room option, either because they want to room with a relative or friend, or because it is the most affordable option. A pilot programme has also run successfully.
“In a student accommodation survey completed in 2019, 76pc of students who responded (1,323 in total) said that they were willing to share a room on campus at a cost of between €3,500 and €3,750.
“Single semester accommodation for second and third year students will be available as a twin room option.”