The University Philosophical Society (the Phil) has cancelled its debate on the motion “This House Believes that Middle Eastern Women Need Western Feminism” following numerous complaints from students.
In a statement issued on Facebook this evening, the Phil outlined that it had become “increasingly clear” to them that the motion was insensitive to women of colour impacted by the motion.
The Phil noted it had “failed” in its original intent to “give a platform to this group of women to discuss their personal experiences in a public forum.” The statement proceeded to outline the Phil’s apology for the “huge upset and feelings of ostracisation” the motion had wrought.
“The Phil realises how the motion came across, and in future, motions will undergo far more scrutiny, by multiple perspectives, before being finalised,” the statement continued. “We deeply apologise for any distress we have caused. The Phil is always striving to create a more welcoming and inclusive environment, especially for the marginalised groups within the College.”
The Phil announced that in lieu of the original motion, the weekly debate this Thursday is set to instead discuss the motion “This House Regrets the Decline of Communism”.
Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Ethnic Minorities Officer Navika Mehta received 20 complaints about the motion as of yesterday evening. One of the complainants, Senior Sophister PPES student Ghalya Farhat, said: “This constant need to look at the West and regard it as the best exemplar needs to stop as it is eternally more damaging than helpful.”
“Change towards a more women inclusive, equal rights oriented Middle East is absolutely necessary but it needs to happen at its own pace and by its own people who understand its complex social structures and culture for it to actually succeed,” continued Farhat.