Over 400 students at the National College of Art and Design took part in a peaceful protest against cuts and overcrowding at the college.
Each student hand-delivered a letter of demands to the college’s director yesterday afternoon, outlining their concerns regarding the college’s current difficulties.
The college recently decreased the number of years in the undergraduate course from four years to three and increased the number of years to complete a master’s degree from one to two.
This means that two classes will be graduating in 2016 instead of one.
The cuts and overcrowding come after NCAD was rocked by a financial scandal earlier this year.
The college was funded with €104 million by the Higher Education Authority, despite its failure to produce records of its accounts.
Last week, a group of final year and masters students along with past graduates came together to produce a letter of demands to send to the director.
The letter states, “It has become evident that the administration’s primary concern at present is the management of revenue, rather than the welfare of its students”.
The letter of demands goes on to demand facilities such as a furnace, studio space and resource facilities for students as well as the reversal of increased fees for master’s degree programmes and increased charges to see the doctor.
Speaking to The College View ,One student among the 400 who delivered the letter by hand described the protest as “really successful”.
The textiles student, who produced badges, a flag and a banner for the protest, says students will escalate their campaign if their demands are not met by director Declan McGonagle in a reasonable timeframe.
“Initially, he (McGonagle) had a response prepared but we decided we would not accept it. We wanted him to really thoroughly read the letter and have an adequate response. We’ve given him until Tuesday to hear back but we want some actual evidence that he’s acting towards our demands,” she said.
The final year student explained that student numbers have increased by 35 percent since 2011 but that funding had fallen by 23 percent.
She also said that the degree show that students take part in before they graduate was a major cause of concern within the student body.
The student said, “We have a degree show every year and the 2016 degree show will have the 4 year graduates exhibiting and the third years exhibiting in the same degree show. The director hasn’t told us anything about the plans for that. There are so many students that are really worried that they won’t be given the appropriate space. The degree show is the final piece. It’s the thing that we’ve all been working towards.”
The textiles student added that shortening the undergraduate course to three years will compromise the standard of work produced by students.
“Shortening the amount of time that a degree is going to be is going to compromise the standard which comes out of it. NCAD is a huge part of Ireland’s art scene. To shorten the degree will jeopardise that,” she said.