UCDLGBTQ+ posters torn down across campus concourse

Image Credit: The same pillar, Monday 1pm and Tuesday 1pm

Posters for UCDLGBTQ+’s upcoming ‘Lavender Nights’ ball have been removed across campus in what appears to be a targeted move.

The posters were put up by LGBTQ+ society committee members on Saturday, April 8th, at midday, and were last seen intact at 2pm the same day. By 1pm on Monday, April 10th, all but three of the 35 posters had been removed, with only one remaining by 1pm on Tuesday 11th.

Speaking to the University Observer about the incident, current Auditor Jake Walsh, who made the initial discovery that the posters had been removed, said that “Initially, my personal response was one of confusion and betrayal. Because while I was never under any illusion about the existence of bigotry on UCD campus, I think it’s safe to say that it’s not been so sabatorial in my memory as a committee member, and I’ve been on the committee since 2020. So, in the last three years.”

“Shocked isn’t even the right word, I know these things happen and it wasn’t like a sudden thing on a stage. I arrived to campus on a Bank Holiday Monday, because I had stuff to do, and the posters were just gone. At first I thought maybe they had been taken down by management or something - well no, at first I thought I was crazy because the first one I noticed was missing was just gone completely, there weren’t still corners on the pillar or anything, and I looked around and I couldn’t see any of the other ones. I was like, ‘Did I put them up?’, and that was at Sutherland [...] and then I was walking towards the Student Centre, and there’s no trace that we ever put any up between Sutherland and the library. Then, when you get to the library there’s just like, corners left like carnage on the poster boards. I don’t know why they gave up on taking the tape off at that point - assuming this is one person, because this happened between the Saturday and the Bank Holiday Monday, where there is very little traffic along the Concourse.”

The sole remaining poster of 35 on Tuesday, April 11th

It is worth noting that as the posters are A4 in size, they do not meet the usual standards for postering along the concourse, which typically require an A3 poster - however A4 posters have been hung along the concourse throughout the year with no issue, and other A4 posters present on the same pillars were not removed over the weekend. Posters in general are removed from the concourse on a Wednesday night, to allow for new posters to be hung on Thursday morning.

When queried on the nature of the posters that were removed, Walsh said “They were for our Lavender Nights Ball, it’s a little later than usual this year because we’re getting back on our feet in terms of having it in person again, but they were advertising the - I think, bargain - tickets to our ball. But like, that was it, they were like, to be honest, completely inoffensive besides from the mention of gay people. There wasn’t even a political slant to them besides our existence.”

The ‘Lavender Nights’ posters were the first and only time that UCDLGBTQ+ have hung public posters this year, with postering being less active on campus post-pandemic. The ball has run in this form since 2018, with no prior posters having been removed or tampered with.

Remnants of posters that were removed

In response to this removal, and the current climate for LGBTQ+ individuals at the moment, Walsh said “I think it’s a concern for everyone. When I was presenting our Foy Justice Award for exceptional activism and community work to Professor Mary MacAuliffe for establishing the Irish Queer Archive just two weeks ago, part of the discussion I had with her in front of that audience was about agreeing that it’s quite apparent that it’s less safe to be LGBT now than it was five years ago.”

Speaking to the University Observer about the incident, UCDSU President Molly Greenough said “It’s really disheartening, and first of all we send our solidarity to anyone in LGBTQ+ soc as well as any member of the LGBTQ+ community here in UCD - I suppose it’s disheartening but it would be in line with the recent rise of homophobia and transphobia that we’re seeing in wider society. As much as I would like to say that I don’t think there are any homophobic or transphobic people here in UCD, I have to admit that universities don’t exist in a bubble. It’s scary to see that happening, to see an already marginalised group specifically being targeted, as it appears, when they’re trying to have a ball to celebrate and enjoy the friendships they’ve made and reflect on the year that they’ve had. I think it’s, like, it’s shocking to be honest [...] Hopefully this is a once off issue, but if it does continue we’ve raised it with the UCD Equality and Diversity Inclusion LGBTQIA+ subgroup as well as Estate Services, so it’s an issue we’re taking very serious and we denounce homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, any attacks against the queer community in all its forms.”