Students have voted for Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) to support the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions movement against Israel and work towards its implementation in Trinity.
BDS won the support of 1287 students, representing 64.5% of the total poll of 2050. The referendum saw the highest turnout in recent years, with 2,316 students voting in total for both referenda. As the boycotting of the Israeli State is a long-term policy, it required that 60% or above of the students balloted voted in its favour, according to TCDSU’s constitution.
The Trinity BDS Campaign group want TCDSU to comply with the “principles of BDS in all Student Union shops, trade, business and other Union operations”. In addition, they are looking for the establishment of a “BDS implementation group open to all members of the union that will ensure compliance” with the movement, and to “lobby government and relevant external organisations to support BDS and the Palestinian anti-apartheid cause”.
Both the incoming TCDSU President Shane De Rís and President-elect of the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) Oisín Vince Coulter have voiced their support for BDS and urged students to vote in its favour.
De Rís spoke to Trinity News before the vote: “It isn’t uncommon for students and students unions to campaign for the rights of oppressed people at home and around the globe. If we can help make a difference by boycotting, divesting, and sanctioning those organisations complicit the oppression of the Palestinian people, then I think it worthwhile to do so. Vince Coulter added: “We need to show solidarity again with the struggle of the Palestinian people for peace, justice and human rights.”
Over 200 more students voted in the BDS and ‘opt out’ referenda than voted on the reunification of Ireland last year. In the referendum on the development of a Students’ Centre 1,146 people voted, which passed. In the referendum on the development of a Students’ Centre, 1,146 people voted, which passed.
The referendum on the boycott of the Israeli state is being held after a group of students gathered the necessary 500 signatures to put the vote to the student body. SU Council voted on the matter last April, opting to reject the motion to support BDS.