USI vote to support bilingual signage on campuses in Northern Ireland

A meeting of USI’s National Council was held in Trinity

The National Council of the Union of Students Ireland (USI) have voted to support bilingual signage for Colleges in Northern Ireland, among several other motions discussed at a meeting held in Trinity. 

The union’s National Council have also taken the decision to support free period products and and voted to establish a partnership between the USI and a Crisis Text Line, as well as authorising the union to begin work on gathering data on students’ sexual experiences.

The motion regarding bilingual signage highlighted “the work being done by Irish societies and Students’ Unions in the North in campaigning for bilingual signage”, and asserted that “students who speak Irish should have the right to have bilingual signage in place on campus to create an environment of equality for Irish and for students who speak it.”

The union will campaign to “put pressure on college authorities to provide bilingual signage on campus where Irish and English are given equal footing”.

In regards to the menstrual products, the proposed motion noted: “a person who has a period will on average have 507 periods throughout their lifetime, and will spend an average of €8100 in a lifetime on sanitary products.” 

The motion cited a survey from Plan International Ireland of women aged between 12 and 19 which stated: “nearly 50% of Irish teenage girls find it difficult to afford sanitary products; some 109 of the young women who participated in the survey said they were forced to use a ‘less suitable sanitary product’ because of the high monthly cost involved.” 

The approved motion mandates: “The Vice President for Welfare and Vice President for Equality and Citizenship to campaign for free sanitary products to be provided nationally. The provision of these products should encompass a wide variety of choice.” 

The USI also approved a motion in to partner with a Crisis Text Line, entering into a “keyword partnership”, with the organisation. 

A final motion addressed “data on sexual attitudes and behaviours of those studying in third level education in Ireland.” 

Following the passing of the motion, the USI will not begin efforts to gather data on third level student’s sexual experiences “to develop a baseline understanding of sexual attitudes and behaviours of students currently studying in Ireland”.

Jessica Hobbs Pifer

Jessica Hobbs Pifer is a Deputy News Editor of Trinity News. She is a Senior Fresh Middle Eastern and European Languages and Cultures student.