TCDSU to introduce sexual consent intern

The intern is to facilitate consent initiatives in Trinity

Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) is to introduce an intern for sexual consent education and development following a motion at Council this evening.

The motion was proposed by TCDSU Welfare Officer James Cunningham, who explained that increasing demand for workshops and training has led to a substantial workload for the SU Welfare Officer, Gender Equality Officer, and the Student Counselling Service.

The motion stated that “there is a need for a full-time member of staff dedicated to dealing with the running of consent initiatives in Trinity”.

€60,000 from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) fund will now be used for the financing of an intern for sexual consent education and development, with an expectation that College will fund the position beyond the initial two years if it proves successful.

Speaking at Council tonight, Cunningham noted that “there has been a lot of work done in the background” to bring this motion forward. Cunningham recognised the necessity of the position as the work required “is fitting around our primary roles” and noted that college “demands a dedicated position for consent”. He outlined the role of this new staff member in helping to “provide consent workshops to as many people in the community”.

Additionally, TCDSU President Shane De Rís proposed a motion for Council not to elect a Sports and Recreation Officer, but instead that a new Trinity Sport intern sit on Union Forum.

The new internship position is to be paid a salary which would be “financed through Trinity Sport” rather than the SU and be filled by a current student in their fourth year.

De Rís compared the Sport internship to the intern employed by the Student to Student (S2S) mentor service and will be implemented on a trial basis for one year.

Council also mandated the TCDSU sabbatical officers to implement the Strategic Plan to 2023, noting the expiry of the 2015-2018 TCDSU Strategic Plan.

Speaking to Trinity News, De Rís stated that the strategic plan “is an instrument to ensure the Union is developing continuously and not dependent on the cyclical nature of the Sabbatical term.” He also highlighted that the last strategic plan “was successful in identifying the gaps in the Union and mapping the path to improving on these.”

In terms of the new plan, De Rís noted that they have “identified that the implementation aspect of the plan was a weakness in the last plan as it was left mainly to each individual year to prioritise the plan or not. To combat this we have extended the period the plan will run for to four years, with the different goals mapped throughout the plan.” He stated further that the “plan has been developed in consultation with stakeholders, and ultimately it is a document owned by SU Council and they are responsible for ensuring its implementation.

The 2018-2023 includes three broad strategic goals for the SU. The first goal is to “[p]romote and protect the quality of education in Trinity and work to remove barriers to entry and equality of experience for all current and future students.” The second goal obligates the Union to “campaign and provide for the betterment of the welfare, well-being and also for the societal interests of all [its] members”, while the final goal of the Union is to “[k]eep working to build a sustainable and robust TCDSU that is responsive and adaptable to students’ needs.” Each goal is comprised of three actions with corresponding outputs and deadlines for same.

The strategic plan was first drafted in 2015 by Domhnall McGlacken-Byrne, then-President of the Union. The plan contained four headings, namely: “Represent, “Serve”, “Community”, and “Effective and Forward-Thinking”.

TCDSU Council took place this evening in the Stanley Quek theatre in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI).

Michael Gilna

Michael Gilna is a former Investigations Editor of Trinity News.

Peter Kelly

Peter Kelly is the current Assistant Editor of Trinity News. He is a Junior Sophister Law student, and a former Deputy News Editor.