Student campaign groups see surge in signups following blunders from College

Membership of Trinity BDS has grown by over 75% in the past week

Student campaign groups including Trinity Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) have seen a surge in signups following a series of missteps from College which have ramped up student opposition.

In the week following a report in Trinity News of the provost’s first public comments on Gaza, 215 new members became members of Trinity BDS, a surge of over 75% in membership.

Prior to last week, the group had gained 283 members total since September.

Provost Linda Doyle faced significant backlash for her comments, in which she said it isn’t “obvious” what the right response to calls to cut ties with Israel is.

Students took to social media to criticise the College’s lack of action: “34,000 dead. Doing nothing is a statement in itself,” one wrote.

Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union’s (TCDSU) recently established Campaigns Group has more than doubled its membership in the days since Doyle sent an email to the entire student body condemning the union’s response to a proposed fee hike for master’s courses.

138 new members signed up to the group between Monday evening and noon on Friday, up from 101 existing members since January, a growth of over 136% in just five days.

58 new members registered in the two hours following Doyle’s email.

Speaking to Trinity News, a spokesperson for Trinity BDS said the recent growth has been “due to both the escalation of student protest in the US and due to the College’s recent statements regarding the genocide in Gaza”.

“Students are clearly sick and tired of College picking and choosing what issues to take a stand on”, Duffy added.

“Since October, College remained largely silent on the atrocities being committed in Gaza, and did not make any commitments to breaking their ties to Israel. TCD BDS held numerous protests since October, as well as launching petitions, email pickets and other actions. Despite this, College never engaged with us.”

“Due to increasing student and staff pressure, College has finally broken its silence, though it maintains various ties to Israel. This shows that the pressure is getting to them, and that this is the most crucial time to maintain it.”

“Students must not be discouraged by College’s threats and we welcome all who agree with our principles to join us. We must not give up.”

Not all new members appear to have joined in good faith – right-wing online outlet Gript yesterday broke the news of the planned encampment after messages from the BDS group chat were leaked.

Membership of both groups continued to grow throughout the week as conflict between students and College intensified, particularly following the imposition of a €214k fine on the union which was reported in national Irish media as well as BBC News.

TDs and senators across several parties yesterday condemned the move in a further embarrassment for the College.

David Wolfe

David Wolfe is a Junior Sophister student of History and Political Science. He is the current Social Media and Managing Editor of Trinity News, having previously served as News Editor, Assistant News Editor and copyeditor.