Queen’s University Belfast student council adopted a neutral stance on reproductive rights for women/abortion matters recently which makes it one of the few universities in the whole of Ireland and the UK to have a neutral stance. Well its neutral to a point Pro Life material is handed out on a daily basis at the Student’s union and many of the flyers contain factually incorrect data and information. Queen’s told its students to hold a neutral stance at any level even at conferences.The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) Congress is on in Galway atm. QUB delegates have been warned to vote along union policy (neutrality) on any abortion/reproductive rights motions. If they don’t, they will be asked to leave and may face financial penalties.
The council is a minority of students which is supposed to be representative of the majority of the student body. So far Queen’s appears to be failing to represent over half of its students. Queen’s has backed itself into a corner here and placed Aisling Gallagher in a difficult situation. Aisling is currently at the USI conference in Ireland and a vote has come up on a subject that is important to the officer in question and also to a large portion of the student population. I am Pro Choice and I would say go with your conscience on any relevant vote and to hell with the consequences. Those who support the work that the student officers do would still be there for them. I doubt Queen’s will do anything about any vote however I suspect the candidate will lose the candidacy at the conference. It now remains to be seen if Queen’s will try anything although I suspect it would be political suicide as well as I’m fairly certain students wouldn’t want to go to a university that punished people for speaking their minds or voting with their conscience. Update the Candidate from Queen’s at USI stood her ground she voted on the matter and lost their candidacy. I applaud her stance on this matter an officer should be willing to speak up for the student body even if that means risking losing candidacy or isolation. Student politics isn’t easy the following days will be interesting to watch.