Academics for Palestine TCD stage demonstration against attacks on Palestinian universities

The demonstration on Front Square coincided with graduation ceremonies of PhD students

Academics for Palestine Trinity College Dublin (AfP TCD) staged a demonstration during graduation ceremonies yesterday protesting the death of thousands of Palestinian students.

Beginning at 10.30am on Front Square, protestors displayed graduation caps outside the Dining Hall, with each hat representing 100 students killed in Gaza.

According to protestors yesterday, 4,327 students have been killed by Israeli forces since October 7.

“That’s 4,327 students who will never celebrate their graduation day,” one poster read.

Students and academics from University College Dublin, Queen’s University Belfast, University of Galway and National College of Art & Design and several others also staged protests yesterday.

A statement issued via X/Twitter by AfP TCD said: “For the first time, all third level colleges across the entire island have come together for a coordinated action to advocate for a sector wide boycott of Israeli institutions which are complicit in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine”.

AfP TCD spokesperson Dr Rebecca Usherwood said: “The National Day of Action for campsites across the Island happens to fall on a day in which Trinity is celebrating its own graduating students”.

“We can’t ignore the fact that many students and children in Palestine, and in Gaza in particular, will never have an opportunity to celebrate their achievements because they and their loved ones have been murdered, their universities destroyed, and their world has been eradicated by Israel.”

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The demonstration coincided with the graduation ceremonies for some PhD students.

An email from Registrar Professor Neville Cox seen by Trinity News commented on the timing of the protest: “Commencement ceremonies (which are formal as well as joyful), have various characteristics. In particular, though, I know from experience that they are contexts in which attendees (both graduands and guests) will have different viewpoints and opinions.”

The email continued: “I wish to stress that it is absolutely prohibited to display any flags or other political emblems in and during the commencement ceremony (which is not so much a politically neutral event as an event into which politics simply do not enter).

“Can I stress that this rule does not in any sense represent any kind of a viewpoint on any political situation (and please note that all flags and all political slogans are prohibited).”

This demonstration by AfP TCD builds on the group’s continuous calls for TCD to cut its ties with Israeli institutions and to “move away from its policy of silence” on Palestine. 

Aoibhinn Clancy

Aoibhínn Clancy is the Deputy News Editor of Trinity News and is currently in her Junior Sophister Year studying History and Political Science.