Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) has condemned College’s “lack of response” so far to the death of George Floyd in the US and the worldwide protests calling for an end to racism and police brutality.
In a letter to Provost Patrick Prendergast, published on Twitter this morning, TCDSU president Laura Beston said it was “particularly concerning for the black students” that College has not issued a response to Floyd’s death or to the protests.
The lack of response, Beston said, was also concerning for “the international students that you seem so keen on welcoming, but so distant when it comes to actually supporting them and challenging the racism that exists on the many levels in Trinity, Dublin, Ireland and globally”.
Floyd’s death has sparked protests across the US and internationally, including a march in Dublin last weekend with several thousand people.
The Dublin protest also highlighted racism in Ireland, particularly within the direct provision system.
“Many students have come forward to us expressing their pain and sadness at this time and relaying to us the many horrific experiences they have been subjected to as a result of racism”, she continued. “Your students are forced to live in a racist society and have had countless incidents of racism occur on your campus, in class, amongst their peers and in the professional environments that they are in.”
“I find it incredibly embarrassing that we, as a college, that are applying to become a university of sanctuary, are failing to address the racism that exists around is or even the efforts to tackle racism in places where our students, staff and alumni live.”
“The second I got into office I set up meetings with your Executive Officers”, Beston said. “I’m pretty sure I even brought this to your attention but I strongly believed that we needed anti racism workshops and I was told by every staff member that I went to that we would solve racism through societal change.”
“I presumed educating our students would do that but that was clearly too much effort for this college, even though it’s [sic] students experience racism everyday. It must have veered too off brand for our white, holy grail of academia.”
“Maybe”, she said, “it’s because you’re white that you’ve never seen this as your issue to talk about”.
“I ultimately beg you to consider how people experience racism in Trinity, to listen to black students’ experiences and platform them at this time, to commit to actions that will actually tackle racism on the campus that you are supposed to lead.”
Beston wrote: “Act now or be left behind — your silence is deafening.”