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Students set up tents in Fellows' Square on Trinity's campus. Llászló Molnárfi
TCD

Trinity to consider links with Israeli universities in response to student camp-out protest

TCD also said it is supporting Palestinian scholars and will continue to support more.

TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN has said that it will set up a task force to consider links to Israeli universities and that it is divesting from investments in Occupied Palestinian Territories, in response to a camp-out protest on the ground of the university.

TCD also said it is supporting Palestinian scholars and will continue to support more, and said it supported the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on genocide.

A camp-out protest is ongoing on the grounds of the university, blocking access to the Book of Kells, with TCD Student’s Union president László Molnárfi this weekend telling The Journal that it will continue “indefinitely”.

Protestors called on the college to cut ties with Israel, and also to condemn Israel’s war on Gaza and to provide scholarships to Palestinians. The college closed its campus to the public citing safety concerns.

It came after the students’ union was fined €214k by the college for their persistent blockading of the Book of Kells tourist experience over issues such as postgraduate workers’ rights, fee increases and the the college’s ties with Israeli institutions.

In its statement this evening, TCD management said Senior Dean Eoin O’Sullivan and the Dean of Students Richie Porter met student representatives this afternoon to discuss the issues being raised by the protest.

“Trinity respects the strong stance expressed by those participating in the encampment and the right to peaceful protest in accordance with College rules,” college management said.

We also continue to engage with our Jewish staff and students who are impacted.

Gaza

In relation to the war in Gaza, TCD welcomed today’s announcement that Hamas had accepted a ceasefire deal. Management said they “fully understand the driving force behind the encampment on our campus and we are in solidarity with the students in our horror at what is happening in Gaza”.

“We abhor and condemn all violence and war, including the atrocities of October 7th and the continuing ferocious and disproportionate onslaught in Gaza.

“The humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the dehumanisation of its people is obscene. We support the International Court of Justice’s finding that ‘Israel must take all measures within its power to prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide in relation to members of the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip.

A real and lasting solution that respects the human rights of everyone needs to be found.  

Divestment and links to Israeli universities

College management said it had already started a process to “divest from investments in companies that have activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and appear on the UN Blacklist in this regard”.

“This process is expected to be completed by June. In April, the National Treasury Management Agency confirmed to government that it had taken a similar approach regarding the Irish Strategic Investment Fund.”

Management also said it was setting up a taskforce which will include student representatives in order “to discuss how we continue to preserve academic freedom while understanding better how we engage – or not – with states that are in contravention of human rights”.

“This task force will have an external chair. Academic freedom is the cornerstone of our identity, and we value it hugely,” management said.

“Some in our community argue that Trinity should ensure all ties with Israeli institutions are cut.

Such decisions rest with individual academics. Some colleagues will see value in maintaining a free exchange of ideas; others will feel deeply uncomfortable having any relationship at all. These conflicting perspectives must be explored in a formal setting.  

The college also said it already supported Palesntinian scholars to “facilitate access to Trinity for students from Gaza seeking to continue their education”.

It said to date it had identified places for eight scholars – six postgraduate and two undergraduates – and that all fees had been waived. The university said it would continue to work to offer additional places.

“We hope that today’s meeting and our firm commitment to implement the series of measures outlined above will lead to a resolution. A further meeting has been scheduled for tomorrow,” management said.

In view of the disproportionate response we have seen at some institutions overseas, Trinity is committed to addressing the issue of the encampment as an internal process. We wish for a return to normal services for our students, staff, and the public as soon as possible. 
With reporting from Eimer McAuley

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