Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) have passed a motion separating Anti-Apartheid Week from Refugee Week.
At a previous TCDSU Council earlier this month, students voted to introduce an Anti-Apartheid Week as part of the union’s Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) mandate. An amendment was made to the motion at the time to run Anti-Apartheid Week alongside Refugee Week.
However, class rep Aodhán Ó’Donnghaile proposed a motion tonight to separate the two weeks, noting that “this amendment did not fully understand the aims of Anti-Apartheid Week”, which they note was to “create a specific, separate week of events to promote awareness and understanding of the Palestinian culture and cause”.
Anti-Apartheid Week will include information stalls, posters, speakers and other social and cultural events to engage students on the issue. The week aims to increase awareness of Israeli apartheid and the Palestinian struggle “as a separate issue from that of refugees at large”.
Speaking to Trinity News, Ó’Donnghaile noted that “it’s very important that anti-apartheid week be given its own week dedicated to on-campus promotion and activism”. He pointed out that holding both weeks together “is a detriment to both, especially since, whilst the plight of Palestinian refugees is comparable to those of other refugees, they are distinct enough to warrant their own promotional week on campus”.
In another vote, Council mandated the release of €15,000 from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) fund to be used for renovations of the parlour in Goldsmith Hall. Council noted that the parlour has become dilapidated and is therefore in need of rejuvenation, highlighting that as student space in the East End of Campus is limited, it is necessary that available space is of appropriate quality.
The motion was proposed by Shane De Rís, President of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU), and seconded by Sally Anne McCarthy, Engineering, Maths and Science (EMS) Convenor.
Speaking to Trinity News, De Rís stated that the parlour “has fallen victim to its heavy use over the past few years.” In terms of renovation, he noted that the investment from the HEA fund “would go towards repairing the paintwork and repainting the room, repairing the flooring, new furniture which would be one of the most expensive aspects, and a dedicated microwave counter also.” He added that it was their desire to ensure that “the social environment is welcoming and comfortable for those who use it.”
The HEA is designed to be used on one off projects which improve the student experience in College.
TCDSU Council took place this evening in the Stanley Quek theatre in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute.