A video released on an Irish student-focused website today entitled ‘Don’t you just hate Mature Students…’ has been dismissed by the Union of Students in Ireland as an attack on diversity inside the student movement.
The short features a portrayal of a group of younger students trying and failing to tolerate the presence of a mature student in their midst. It is believed the video was intended to be a comedy.
Speaking after watching the video, Kevin Donoghue, USI Deputy President said:
“This mean-spirited and deeply unfunny video portrays a systematic attempt to exclude a person from the group merely for being different. The fact they chose to show the exclusion of a mature student is almost besides the point – members of any minority group within the student cohort will equally see the mechanisms of exclusion at work here.”
Annie Hoey, USI Vice President for Equality and Citizenship, said:
“Students Unions around the country appreciate and value the contribution to student life of mature students, who bring a wealth of life experience and knowledge to bear on their studies and enhance the diversity of the studying experience.
Perhaps the only valuable thing about this video is how true to life it is in its portrayal of exclusion where it occurs – and the reason the video falls flat is because viewers of the video know that the attitudes portrayed in it cause hurt and distress to the excluded.
USI believes in freedom of speech – and chooses to exercise that right in the service of valuing all our members, bringing people together and dispelling stereotypes.”