UCC’s president has been accused of blaming the Government so he can “cop out” of his responsibility to students on his own campus.
Pádraig Ó Sé urged his 3,458 Twitter followers to “call for Government action now” on the current crisis in student accommodation.
His call came as the students’ occupation of the UCC quad in protest at plans by the college to hike campus accommodation by 3% entered its seventh day.
There appears to be no end in sight for the protest, which continued during Storm Jorge.
“We’ll freeze until you freeze,” said student leaders, who want the 3% increase scrapped and rent rises frozen for three years.
Posting from his Twitter account, Mr Ó Sé stated: “UCC offers the best value high-quality student accommodation in Cork, by keeping rent well below commercial operators. We receive zero State funding to operate, maintain & develop the housing our students so desperately need.
“We call for a National response to a National issue.”
In a later tweet, he said: “There are over 40,000 third-level students in Cork City.
“UCC Campus Accommodation has only 1,200 beds and CIT has none.
“What will happen when many thousands of new students look for housing for next September and every September after that? Call for government action now.”
However, almost immediately, he was blasted over his comments.
One Twitter user replied to him saying: “Blaming the Government and the shortage of housing is a cop out.
“UCC is responsible for rent hikes and is now worried about their reputation.”
Another replied: “I’m embarrassed UCC — and seemingly yourself — are attempting to justify pricing students and potential students out of education with this spin.
“Supposed high quality should not be the USP to justify this increase, it should be the norm.”
More than 4,200 have now signed an online petition to get the college to ditch the 3% rent hike.
Additional reporting: Eoin English