Both the incoming Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President Shane De Rís and President-elect of the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) Oisín Vince Coulter voiced their support for the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) movement, urging students to vote in its favour.
De Rís voiced this support for the campaign in a statement to Trinity News, saying: “The Palestinian people have been suffering for far too long at the hands of the Israeli state and affiliated organisations and students must stand with them and advocate for their liberation.”
“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: “Trinity and TCDSU have had a long and proud history of fighting apartheid, taking a leading role in Ireland against apartheid in South Africa – that is why House 6 is officially called Mandela House.”
“We need to show solidarity again with the struggle of the Palestinian people for peace, justice and human rights,” he told Trinity News.
In a post on their campaign Facebook page featuring the two incoming officers, the Trinity BDS Campaign said: “It’s heartening to know that we have allies in the fight for a fairer college and an apartheid-free campus.”
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. Before the vote, TCDSU President Kevin Keane had expressed his support for the boycott of Israel but spoke against it at Council last year.
Voting in the referendum to support the BDS movement ends today, alongside a vote on the option to opt out of TCDSU. Polls close at 1pm in Tallaght and D’Olier Street, while voting can continue until 4pm in the Arts and Hamilton Buildings.