NUI Galway president, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, has called for property owners who have been accommodating students this year to work with the university and show compassion for those adversely affected the COVID-19 emergency.
The university recently moved all classes and assessments online for the remainder of the semester and encouraged students living in rented accommodation in the city to return home. However the emergency has left some students stranded in Galway, while others face financial losses as a result of having to leave their accommodation early.
NUI Galway has the most geographically spread student population of any university in the country. With some of these students unable to return to their families, there have been reports of students being served with eviction notices. While new legislation will support such students, there have also been cases where some of those who have returned home have faced difficulties in leaving earlier than planned, with deposits being withheld.
“These are challenging times for all our community,” Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said this week. “Many students have remained in Galway at this time, by necessity. Many have returned home, also by necessity. NUI Galway is mindful of the healthcare, social, and economic impacts of COVID-19 on all members of our society. We commend the many landlords who have shown remarkable kindness to our students.
“This is a time when we will remember what we did and how we were to our fellow human beings,” he added. “In the long term, Galway’s reputation as a welcoming, respectful, place is in the interests – and to the benefit – of us all. We therefore request that property owners who have our students as tenants in their properties show care, compassion, and some flexibility at this time of urgency and need.”
The university’s campus accommodation remains open to students who need to remain in Galway, with arrangements in place for students to self-isolate if needed.
To keep current students up to date on all developments in relation to wellbeing and support, the university is hosting a series of online Q&A sessions, with a session dealing with accommodation taking place tomorrow, Friday, from 11am to 1pm where all accommodation questions will be answered. The session will be available at https://nuigalway.pubble.io/app/preview/66049.