Sun | Jan 20, 2019

Irvinites in danger of being forced out

Published:Saturday | January 21, 2017 | 12:00 AM



Relations Student

UWI, Mona

Irvine Hall no longer is a safe haven for persons in the lower socioeconomic stratum of society. Rather, it is gradually becoming an avenue to fund the pockets of the bourgeoisie. With the so-called first-class facilities being offered by the new developers, 138 Student Living (138 SL), it is without doubt that the cost of living on Irvine Hall will increase. From its inception, I have not heard or seen any active and effective form of advocacy from the Students' Hall Committee or the alumnus body, as it seems as though the period of such advocacy has met its untimely demise.

For 66 years, Irvine Hall has maintained the lowest fees and has been the preferred choice for persons who find it hard to meet their financial obligations with the University of the West Indies. Is this an indirect move indicating that university education will once again be limited to those whose families fall in the upper or middle class, or to those who are lucky enough to secure a scholarship? If so, the supposed future of the country is quite ironically being trampled upon by those who are placed in the position and vested with the power to assist such individuals.

It must be noted that the residents of Irvine Hall already struggle to find the under $200,000 in order to reside on the hall, as asserted by Professor Archibald Gordon in the April 24, 2016 edition of The Sunday Gleaner. It is only viable that after 138 SL spends $2 billion to reconstruct Irvine Hall, they find some means of acquiring the money used to fund the project - which will, undoubtedly, be achieved through an increase in the hall fees.

While this move to develop the living space does not directly affect me, it is pragmatic that someone advocates for those who will be forced to quit school. Otherwise, the 30-year concession period will result in 30 years of only upper- and middle-class individuals receiving a university education, and the repercussions of this occurring will be left to your imagination.