Student Unrest in University College Dublin

A report from the 'Seven Days' series on student unrest in University College Dublin.

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Extended description

This is a clip from the 'Seven Days' series reporting on student unrest in University College Dublin. Students decided not to attend lectures or tutorials but to meet in small groups to discuss all aspects of college life.

The university is housed in five buildings and was originally intended to cater for 4000 students. There are now 10,000 students which has resulted in severe overcrowding and course material shortages.

A nun SISTER BENVENUTA (MARGARET MACCURTAIN) of the UCD history department is interviewed and has this to say "'I consider this is one of the most hopeful things to come out of the sixties in Ireland. Here are the students of the largest university coming together, thinking hard about how to structure a real university community. And not stopping there, but going on from that, to think of the implications for the community which is our Irish society in Ireland. And for that reason I feel that there is a splendid vigour and positive approach in the sincerity with which these students are attacking problems which we have left, unfortunately particularly those of us who are graduates, which we have left in abeyance for so many years.

(Reporter off camera: 'Are you excited by it?')

'I'm tremendously excited and exhilarated by it. I feel that this is going to affect the whole of Irish society in a wonderful way if we can stand behind these students. By us I mean those of us who are old enough to, be a decade or two ahead of them and young enough to be in sympathy with the aspirations that they have for Ireland'.

In a large crowded lecture theatre a man addresses students on their relation to Irish society having received a university education.

"At the moment we are trying to make the decisions which will benefit ourselves inside the university. Unfortunately when we get outside the university most of us will be absorbed into a structure where the decisions we are asked to make will benefit ourselves but will be to the detriment of a large section of the community."

IV student, RUAIRI QUINN, "'The way decisions are made in this university at the moment is such that a very small number of people of the staff, in fact only twenty percent of the whole staff make the decisions which affect the rest of the university. That would mean about a hundred people in all take decisions which affect ten thousand. The effect of these decisions can be seen in the way we have now got a crisis over where our library is going to be next year. We've a crisis over how the university is run. We've a crisis over over-crowding, bad lectures, bad facilities. I don't think that these people are any longer competent to run the university
under the present system."

(Reporter off camera, 'But Ruairi Quinn they are representative to some extent are they not?')

IV RUAIRI QUINN "Well if you could tell me who they're representative to we'd be very grateful, you know, this is one of
the problems - we can no longer find out where they are, who they are representative to. The Governing Body Act if sixty years old - it just doesn't work anymore, this is the simple matter."

The majority of students in the clip are wearing long coats and many are smoking indoors including in a lecture theatre.

 

 

Further information

This is a clip from the 'Seven Days' series reporting on student unrest in University College Dublin in 1969.

Student Ruairi Quinn who is interviewed in the extract went on to serve as Labout TD and as minister in a number of departments including finance. In 2011 Ruairi Quinn became Minister for Education.

The 'Seven Days' series was broadcast from 1968 to 1976 and covered current affairs at home and abroad.

 

This is a clip from the 'Seven Days' series reporting on student unrest in University College Dublin. Students decided not to attend lectures or tutorials but to meet in small groups to discuss all aspects of college life.

The university is housed in five buildings and was originally intended to cater for 4000 students. There are now 10,000 students which has resulted in severe overcrowding and course material shortages.

A nun SISTER BENVENUTA (MARGARET MACCURTAIN) of the UCD history department is interviewed and has this to say "'I consider this is one of the most hopeful things to come out of the sixties in Ireland. Here are the students of the largest university coming together, thinking hard about how to structure a real university community. And not stopping there, but going on from that, to think of the implications for the community which is our Irish society in Ireland. And for that reason I feel that there is a splendid vigour and positive approach in the sincerity with which these students are attacking problems which we have left, unfortunately particularly those of us who are graduates, which we have left in abeyance for so many years.

(Reporter off camera: 'Are you excited by it?')

'I'm tremendously excited and exhilarated by it. I feel that this is going to affect the whole of Irish society in a wonderful way if we can stand behind these students. By us I mean those of us who are old enough to, be a decade or two ahead of them and young enough to be in sympathy with the aspirations that they have for Ireland'.

In a large crowded lecture theatre a man addresses students on their relation to Irish society having received a university education.

"At the moment we are trying to make the decisions which will benefit ourselves inside the university. Unfortunately when we get outside the university most of us will be absorbed into a structure where the decisions we are asked to make will benefit ourselves but will be to the detriment of a large section of the community."

IV student, RUAIRI QUINN, "'The way decisions are made in this university at the moment is such that a very small number of people of the staff, in fact only twenty percent of the whole staff make the decisions which affect the rest of the university. That would mean about a hundred people in all take decisions which affect ten thousand. The effect of these decisions can be seen in the way we have now got a crisis over where our library is going to be next year. We've a crisis over how the university is run. We've a crisis over over-crowding, bad lectures, bad facilities. I don't think that these people are any longer competent to run the university
under the present system."

(Reporter off camera, 'But Ruairi Quinn they are representative to some extent are they not?')

IV RUAIRI QUINN "Well if you could tell me who they're representative to we'd be very grateful, you know, this is one of
the problems - we can no longer find out where they are, who they are representative to. The Governing Body Act if sixty years old - it just doesn't work anymore, this is the simple matter."

The majority of students in the clip are wearing long coats and many are smoking indoors including in a lecture theatre.

 

 

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Jack
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Mike
3 min ago.
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Title Student Unrest in University College Dublin.
Title in English Student Unrest in University College Dublin.
Series title Seven Days
Series title in English Seven Days
Clip title Student Unrest in University College Dublin
Provider RTÉ
Publisher / broadcaster RTÉ
Broadcast date 11/03/1969
Production year 1969
First broadcast channel RTÉ
Country of production IRELAND
Contributor John O Donoghue (Reporter)
Genre Factual
Topic Education
Thesaurus terms Universities, Further Education, Students Unions
Keywords University College Dublin, Third Level Education, Overcrowding, Student Protest, Sister Benvenuta, University Library, Margaret MacCurtain
Geographical coverage Ireland
Original language English
Language used English
Subtitle language -
Material type Video
Item type Part/extract
Item duration 07:24
Item colour Black & White
Item sound Mono
Aspect ratio 4:3
Filename drlaweb_20111019_7days_ucd_000724_p210_00069_19690311.mp4
Identifier EUS_1522DBA0F23340929C5598F7B84E026B
Original identifier P210/00069
Relation -
Relation type -
info user generated
info technical