Tue | Jan 23, 2018

Irvine Hall renovation will force out poor students

Published:Saturday | February 4, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Professor Archibald McDonald, principal and pro vice-chancellor of the University of the West Indies.

Irvine Hall is no longer a safe haven for persons in the lower socio-economic 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, 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 of society, or to those who are lucky enough to secure a scholarship?

If so, the future of the country is being trampled by those who are placed in positions and vested with 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, it 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 advocate for those who will be forced to quit school.

Otherwise, the 30-year concession period will result in three decades of only upper- and middle-class individuals receiving a university education, and the repercussions of this occurring will be left to your imagination.


International Relations Student

UWI, Mona