By Kylie Noble, editor @
QUB Alliance, a branch of Alliance Youth have announced this evening full support for the campaign seeking to have the SU take a neutral position on the constitutional status of Northern Ireland.
Last night, 17 October, Alliance Youth elected a new committee for 2014/2015 with Jamie Doyle now chair.
“QUB has always offered an inclusive place for students to continue their studies, with the Students’ Union central to university life. It is unfortunate this inclusive nature is now under threat, with the constitutional question now on the agenda.
QUB Sinn Fein’s plan to hold a border poll on campus and the counter campaign to keep the Students’ Union a neutral space has left us with a situation no-one in QUB Alliance wanted – a potentially divided student body.
Diversity is at the heart of the Alliance Party’s membership, with the desire to move past tribal politics and build a shared future the driving force of everything we do. This aim extends to the QUB Alliance group, where a group of students from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives want to see a united student body, leaving tribal divisions firmly in the past.
After consultation with the Alliance Youth Executive, and more widely with Alliance members who are students at Queen’s University Belfast, QUB Alliance will officially be supporting a ‘yes’ vote on October 27 to ensure the Students’ Union remains a shared and neutral space. This motion reads as follows: ‘This Students’ Union is a shared space that is inclusive for all students and should therefore have a neutral stance on the constitutional position of NI. [Do you agree? Yes or No]’
With respect to the other referendum which asks ‘Should Ireland be a united and independent country? [Yes or No]‘, QUB Alliance recognises the democratic process and the right for this to be tabled – however we don’t believe the constitutional question is a priority for students, with its divisive and polarising nature. QUB Alliance does not take a collective opinion on the specific issue, with individual members able to form their own judgements on that particular question – or even the wisdom of holding such a referendum.
Our priority remains protecting the shared nature of the Students’ Union and would appeal to other political groups within the university to show leadership and responsibility going forward. Our focus will be on co-operating with other youth groups and individuals within the university to secure a clear mandate from the student body to maintain the shared, inclusive and welcoming nature of the Students’ Union. A strong Yes vote in the referendum on ensuring the Students’ Union remains a shared space can guarantee this outcome.
The QUB Alliance membership has a wide variety of perspectives on the constitutional question, but we are united in our belief that the Queen’s Students Union, as a shared institution, should not take a stance on the constitutional position of Northern Ireland.”