Christmas council this year was filled with plenty of laughs, cheer and celebration. It’s been a tough year for all and was a pleasant way to end an odd semester of councils, more importantly were many topical and necessary issues handled within the motions passed by the Student Council.
Held on the 9th December, motions passed included lecture recording, fighting for the abolishment of the MSM blood ban and standing against Image based sexual abuse (IBSA). As stated in the motion itself which can be viewed on the TUDSU website, this is not just a hot topic issue but one that has severe gaps in legislation that allows perpetrators to not take responsibility for their actions. Thankfully shortly after this motion was passed another piece of legislation regarding IBSA passed in the Dáil, finally making it a criminal offence! Of course, there is still so much more work to do regarding ending this culture of sexual violence and healing the victims of IBSA. We as a union must also take affirmative action in preventing IBSA among our student body and calling out behaviour that leads to such disturbing acts.
Regardless of your sex, gender or sexuality, this legislation affects us all as IBSA can happen to anyone and legislation such as this will only help to serve us. While we celebrate the victories of fighting IBSA both on a national level and within the students union, it is also the opportunity to hold out the olive branch to the various survivors, primarily women, of IBSA and to help them heal the best they can.
Another highly contentious issue is fighting the MSM (men who have sex with men) blood ban. This is a law in place that’s prevents men who have had any form of sexual relations in the last 12 months from donating blood. This is an outdated and misinformed law that arose from a period of uncertainty nearly 40 years ago. Regardless of your sexual orientation, when donating blood you are thoroughly screened and tester to ensure the blood you are donating is safe. The law is therefore unfortunately discriminatory and the student council has voted to lobby against it.
Talking on a personal note, I find these motions in particular are a great step forward for the union and help to make all of us feel safe and included. The motions show that on both a social and individual level that the union supports inclusion and our own personal struggles! I think that our support for fighting these causes shows a positive end to a tumultuous year in the TUDSU community. “