Thursday 21 November 2019

NCAD students promise to escalate protest following mass sit in

More than a 100 NCAD students took part in the protest Credit: NCAD Student Action
More than a 100 NCAD students took part in the protest Credit: NCAD Student Action
Students have presented a list of demands to the college's management Credit: NCAD Student Action

David Kearns

NCAD students staged a mass sit in to protest against senior management over claims it is “damaging the quality of their studies.”

This afternoon, more than 100 students from across the National College of Art and Design in Dublin gathered in a single classroom to complain about the decision to increase first year admissions by 75pc without providing extra resources to cover the influx of new students.

On Friday some 400 students gathered to deliver a letter of protest to the institution’s director Declan McGonagle.

Among the list of complaints, is the number of “derelict buildings” being used for Master students, fees for visiting the campus doctor, and a general failure to fulfil promises already made – including tackling the 15 pc reduction in staff, the lack of studio space, and the need for a furnace for the college’s glass department.

Today’s protest follows on from a warning by NCAD Student President Fabian Strunden that students would continued “take action” if no progress was made over their demands.

In a Facebook post last Friday, the protest group ‘NCAD Student Action’ said it would continue to gather until their was an “itemised progress report” on their demands.

Mr McGonagle is expected to meet with NCAD students later this evening to discuss their concerns, something he told RTE on Friday that he shared.

“There has been a huge reduction in resources across the third-level sector… [and] the NCAD has seen its core funding cut by almost 50pc.”

“Art and design education in Ireland is now at or beyond a tipping point,” he added.

A statement issued by the National College of Art and Design this evening said the current staff:student ratio is well beneath the ratio in Ireland's university sector.

"The management at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) has been engaging proactively with the students and the Students’ Union on their concerns about the impact of funding cutbacks. The Director of NCAD has held a number of meetings with the Students’ Union and meets with student groupings on a regular basis," the statement read.

2Since 2008, the core grant for NCAD has decreased by almost 50 per cent. At the same time, in response to significant reform in national education policy and the institutional landscape, the College has taken steps to increase its student numbers.

"Since 2010, the overall number of undergraduate students at NCAD has risen from 780 to 1,033, representing an increase of just over 30 per cent. The overall staff:student ratio at NCAD, at present, is 1:15, which is in line with the national average for comparable education-providers in Art and Design. The ratio for the university sector generally is 1:23," the statement concluded.

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