Beston pledges to change SU culture with new dignity and respect policy

TCDSU President to tackle issues around communication and cliquishness

Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) may soon introduce a code of conduct and a dignity and respect policy in order to improve students’ experience with the union and reduce perceptions of cliquishness.

Speaking to Trinity News, TCDSU President Laura Beston explained that she aims to reverse the perception that that the union doesn’t listen to the concerns of all students and to encourage inclusivity by diversifying the way the union communicates with students and introducing the code of conduct and dignity and respect policy.

Beston said that a perception exists within College “that we are all best mates in the SU” but insists that “you don’t have to be a certain person to be involved in the union and you don’t have to be a certain person to have a chat with someone in the union”. She also conceded that cliquish attitudes do exist within the union but said that it’s “areas and pockets, it’s not the full SU, but it’s there and then people perceive it to be the whole SU”.

Beston noted that “people end up gatekeeping areas of union life” but says that the same thing happens everywhere including in “college life and society life”. She stated: “It is a cultural thing, and this year I’m very much about shifting cultures and changing cultures in Trinity.”

While details of what is to go into the code of conduct or dignity and respect policy are yet to be decided, Beston says she hopes that in cases where someone is being bullied or not shown the proper amount of respect, it will make it easier for the oversight committee to be able to point to a specific rule that has been broken and take disciplinary action.

She is also keen for them to address the behaviour of students during the union elections, saying that: “If someone is running for election and someone might be attacking them online saying ‘well you’re not involved in the SU’, some element of the dignity and respect policy will address an issue like that”.

Beston stated that she is “really excited to be able to say that we have a document that protects our students and allows us to reprimand difficult behavior or behaviour that isolates students”.

Finn Purdy

Finn Purdy is the current Deputy Editor of Trinity News. He is a Junior Sophister English Studies student, and a former News Editor and Assistant News Editor.