TCD and the BDS movement

 

Sir, – Teresa Trainor is keen to play down widespread support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement among students at Trinity College Dublin (Letters, November 18th). Focusing on the percentage of TCD enrolment that voted in the 2018 student union (TCDSU) referendum on whether to support the BDS movement is a red herring. Much like any other demographic, a minority of students immerse themselves in student politics, others limit their involvement to voting in referendums, and many do not engage with student politics.

While Ms Trainor is technically correct that the TCDSU motion passed by a margin of 57 votes, she neglected to mention that this, like all votes on long-term TCDSU policy, required a 60 per cent supermajority. The BDS motion comfortably surpassed this supermajority, with some 64.5 per cent voting in favour, on what Trinity News described as “the highest turnout in recent years”.

TCDSU is just one of numerous student bodies that have voted – whether by popular mandate or via student representatives – to support the BDS movement. In the aftermath of TCDSU’s successful BDS referendum, the student unions of UCD and DCU, along with the Union of Students in Ireland, adopted pro-BDS mandates. By endorsing BDS, these unions joined NUS-USI in the North and NUIG, which had BDS mandates predating the TCDSU referendum. Majority student opinion on the matter is clear across the country, and it is troubling that the management of certain universities seem intent on ignoring student voices. – Yours, etc,

CONOR REDDY,

Students for Justice

in Palestine TCD,

Finglas,

Dublin 11.