These are the universities paying for Irish students to go home and vote in the abortion referendum
Universities are calling it a ‘political donation’
At least six British universities are offering their Irish students bursaries to help them travel home this weekend so they can cast their vote in the referendum on the Eighth Amendment.
The Eighth Amendment effectively bans abortion in Ireland, meaning that thousands of woman have to travel to Britain every year to get an abortion.
Universities offering bursaries include Cambridge, Oxford, Birmingham, Nottingham, Goldsmiths, Essex and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
Students' Unions are offering as much as £110 to fund travel expenses for Irish students, calling it a "political donation" to help students exercise their democratic right.
So proud of @WomensUoB today, proud to be apart of this group! We successfully managed to convince @GuildofStudents to fund Irish students returning to Ireland for the referendum. So proud! #voteyes #repealthe8th
— Alif 💡 (@alif_trevathan) May 18, 2018
This comes as part of the #Home2V8te campaign, which has been supported by the NUS as well as the student unions of individual British unis.
Some Students' Unions have faced criticism for selectively funding students who intend to vote Yes, to repeal the Eight Amendment (pro-choice). Cambridge SU's Women's Campaign, WomCam, pledged to fund £110 for nine students to travel home, but only if they pledged to vote yes.
WomCam defended this decision, saying: "WomCam has always and will always support the right to free, safe and legal abortion on demand as part of a wider reproductive justice framework."
Other universities have made it clear they are funding students travel regardless of their vote. The Vice President of Oxford SU, Katy Haigh, said while the funding did not depend on the direction of the vote, the values behind the funding remained "distinctly pro-choice".
The University of Nottingham also commented that the funding was open to everyone on a first come, first served basis to help students exercise their democratic right "regardless of your voting intentions".