Mar 7, 2024

New Ethnic Minorities Support Group Begins March 4th

In collaboration with Black Therapists Ireland Founder, Ejiro Ogbevoen, and through the work of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Ethnic Minorities Officer, Hamza Bana, TCD’s Student Counselling Service (SCS) starts an Ethnic Minorities Support Group.

Alex PayneAssistant Editor

In an Instagram post on Thursday 22nd February, 2024, the TCDSU announced the new Ethnic Minorities Support Group run by the SCS. It will be facilitated by SCS counsellor Sinéad Crowley and founder of Black Therapists Ireland, Ejiro Ogbevoen.

In the caption to the post, the TCDSU said: “We are incredibly excited to announce that TCDSU have successfully set up Trinity’s Ethnic Minorities Support Group.”

The caption also draws attention to the work of one of its part-time officers: “Thanks to the fantastic work of our Ethnic Minorities Officer.” The current Ethnic Minorities Officer is Hamza Bana, who is also running to be next year’s Welfare & Equality Officer in the TCDSU Sabbatical Elections 2024.


On the SCS website page which details their Group Counselling sessions, it says of the new group: “This support group is a therapeutic support space for students from different cultures and ethnic minorities, run with the Trinity Student Counselling Service.” 

“It offers an inclusive and supportive space for members of these communities to meet, share experiences and advocate for their needs. This group will be facilitated by a counsellor in SCS and an external therapist from within this community, with a similar lived experience.”

In a statement to The University Times, Bana said: “The SCS were very self-aware when it came to the fact that they had no POC [Person of Colour] on their staff.” 

“On initial talks with them they had stated that they did have an ethnic minority support group a few years ago but had stopped as they felt that there was an ethical issue on whether a white facilitator would be qualified to handle cases of the POC experience on campus and subsequently in Ireland.”

“Not to say that their endless certifications do not mean anything; however, many students would much rather have a facilitator that looks like them as it provides a more comforting experience.”

Bana also sought to bring attention to the fact that Trinity still does not have a mandatory module for diversity and inclusivity training for staff, a key manifesto pledge in his current election campaign: “On the topic of institutional racism, to get rid of it is to get rid of the perpetrators that enable it to happen within systems and to shift the narrative from ‘stop being racist’ to ‘fight to be anti-racist’.”

“Many of us know that to be on the fence for humanitarian issues or even doing the bare minimum is not enough to fight against institutional racism, you have to be actively against it.” 

“This includes all levels of staff from lectures to security and more as there is no mandatory module for diversity and inclusivity training for staff. It is only made optional for teaching staff who showed very little interest in such a module.” 

“Trinity boasts of being the best university in Ireland and leading the path in diversity, yet does not have a module that better equips our staff when it comes to handling racial discrimination cases which causes students to not seek help and makes it near impossible to report cases of discrimination done by our staff.”

On bringing the support group to reality, Bana detailed his personal work towards the project: “It was only until I started speaking with the SCS when a support group for ethnic minorities finally started coming into fruition and to be honest, a lot of the work trying to put this together is being done by me.” 

“I spoke with Trinity INC who have thankfully said that they can fund the group, I have to source the therapist who will be facilitating the group. Now the people I spoke with in the SCS were very much open to the idea, there’s no doubt of that.”

“However, it is frustrating that the reason why this support group will be happening is because of the work of a student.”

The beginning of this support group also comes following a comment piece on experiences of racism by TCD Medical student Kiran Singh, an op-ed from a therapist at Black Therapists Ireland and a University Times investigation and feature on institutional racism.

The group drop-in sessions will run on Mondays (except Bank Holidays when the session will be moved to the Tuesday of that week) from 4.45pm to 5.45pm in either Seminar Room (318) or Group Room (331) in the SCS at 7-9 South Leinster Street.

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