The 5 on Friday: consent workshops, worsening TA conditions, USI hustings, and more

Five of our week’s top stories delivered in bite-size chunks

USI holds General Election hustings in Trinity

Labour’s Joanna Tuffy, senator Gerard Craughwell, Direct Democracy Ireland’s Cormac McKay, Fine Gael’s Barry Ward, Sinn Fein’s Louise O’Reilly, Fianna Fail’s Charlie McConalogue, Social Democrat’s Gary Gannon, the Green Party’s Roderic O’Gorman and the Anti Austerity Alliance’s Diana O’Dwyer made up the panel, with former TCDSU communications officer and current Sunday Business Post journalist Leanna Byrne chairing the event. Students in the audience issued questions to candidates, but lack of manifestos meant no concrete answers


Critical response to consent workshops

The response to TCDSU’s intention to introduct mandatory consent workshops for first year students living in Halls drew criticism from some areas of the media and the public. Here Matthew Mulligan pens a response to an article by the Irish Times’ Fionola Meredith entitled “neo-puritan preaching to students won’t stop rape”, outlining why such workshops can help break down stereotypes of men as predators.


Many TAs are overworked and underpaid, work many hours for free or at substantial pay cuts

A Trinity News investigation reveals the poor working conditions of teaching assistants in many departments, and the adverse effect on teaching quality. Graduate students in many departments do much of their teaching work for free or at sub minimum wage rates, with some doctoral students threatened with having their scholarship payments withheld or delayed if they don’t comply with the extended working hours. Due to worsening conditions, many TAs can only spend ten to fifteen minutes per essay or exam script when correcting. We spoke to a number of teaching assistants about their situation.


88% of Smartvote users support abortion rights

USI’s new figures show that out of 15,484 Smartvote users, 88% are in favour of abortion. 72% ‘strongly agree’ that abortion should be allowed in cases of rape, incest or when a baby is unlikely to survive outside the womb. 9% agreed and a further 7% slightly agreed, meaning that 88% of users agreed in total.

blood donation-Odhran Mclaughlin

SU joins movement against ban on MSM blood donation

After passing a motion at December’s SU Council, Samuel Riggs sets out Trinity’s campaign against the outright ban on gay men donating blood in Ireland. Riggs is visibly excited by the prospect that students trained to lobby within the walls of Trinity might “go home to their counties and lobby local politicians.” He explains that his team will produce a lobbying document, with clear and concise points presenting the argument for a reduction in the MSM blood donation ban.

Matthew Mulligan

Matthew is Editor for the 62nd volume of Trinity News. He is a Sociology and Social Policy graduate and was previously Deputy Editor of tn2 Magazine.