Poll finds overwhelming support for Trinity BDS encampment among students

Just 9.49% of students polled expressed approval for College’s response to Gaza

Respondents to a poll by Trinity News have expressed overwhelming support for the Gaza solidarity encampment led by Trinity Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (TCD BDS).

Of 1,360 students polled, 80.44% said they approved of the encampment, which began on Friday evening. The poll was carried out over a 24 hour period between Saturday and Sunday.

The poll comes as a strong rebuke of College’s response to Israel’s genocidal campaign in Gaza. Just 9.49% of students polled said they approved of College’s response, compared to 85.96% who expressed disapproval.

College released its first official statement on Gaza last Wednesday. In it, the provost said that College’s investment portfolio would be “updated with reference to the UN blacklist” and defended maintaining research links with Israeli universities.

Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) and TCD BDS had called for divestment from Israeli institutions since a Freedom of Information (FOI) request in February revealed that College maintains investments in companies blacklisted by the UN. TCD BDS has called for College to cut its ties with Israeli institutions such as Tel Aviv University since October.

The poll showed an approval rating of 78.31% for TCDSU’s response to the situation in Gaza among respondents, with 16.10% disapproval.

The establishment of the BDS encampment came after a week of escalating tensions between student groups and College. On Thursday, College issued an invoice for €214k to the students’ union for financial losses incurred by disruptive protests. College cited several instances of TCDSU and TCD BDS blocking access to the Book of Kells and Old Library as part of protests over fee increases and College’s stance on Gaza.

88.97% of respondents to Trinity News’ poll believe that the €214k fine was not an appropriate response to the students’ union actions. The decision to impose the fine has drawn criticism from alumni as well as TDs and senators from across political parties. The Seanad Civil Engagement group, including Trinity Senator Lynn Ruane, has called on College to reverse the decision.

The online poll was conducted by Trinity News between Saturday 4 May and Sunday 5 May. The poll, which was open to students, staff and alumni, received 1,510 total responses, 1360 of which were from current students. The poll is demographically representative of the student body.

Maggie Larson

Maggie Larson is a Computational Journalist for Trinity News, and a former Deputy Societies Editor.