Funding to the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) has been suspended following a meeting of Trinity’s Board.
In an email to postgraduate students, Dean of Graduate Studies Martine Smith, Dean of Students Catherine McCabe and Senior Dean Eoin O’Sullivan said that the funding was suspended due to “the fact that the GSU has still not filed accounts with the Capitation Committee for the financial year ending August 2021, despite numerous requests from the Capitation Committee to do so”.
The Capitation Committee oversees the five student capitated bodies which receive funding from the College – Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU), the GSU, Trinity Publications, the Central Societies Committee (CSC) and the Trinity Sports Union.
Trinity will also no longer work with the GSU, and its representatives will no longer sit on College committees.
“In light of this, the Board has decided that College will suspend its engagement with, and services provided to, the GSU, including having GSU representatives on College committees”, the email said.
The email also said that the funding received by the GSU will be reallocated to Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) “for the purposes of supporting the postgraduate community”.
The Board also “acknowledged the importance of ensuring postgraduate students are represented in all relevant committees and forums”.
It mandated TCDSU to appoint postgraduate representatives to relevant committees “in the immediate term”.
In a press statement, the Union said: “The Trinity College Dublin (TCD) Dean of Graduate Studies has emailed the Postgraduate community to communicate the decision to suspend funding from the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU).”
“This decision was made by the Capitations Committee, as the GSU has not complied with the mandated report of their finances and concerns with the constitutionality and transparency of EGMs and Elections”, it continued.
“The last time the GSU has submitted audited financial statements to the Capitations Committee was for the year ended August 31 2020.”
TCDSU will engage with the postgraduate community over the coming weeks to “discuss the future of postgraduate representation in Trinity”.
In the same statement, TCDSU confirmed that they will “arrange a Postgraduate Town Hall which will allow us to engage in direct consultation with Postgraduate Students to discuss the future of Postgraduate representation within Trinity”.
“TCDSU will facilitate Postgraduate Students in the interim period — but the decisions regarding the future of Postgraduate representation are in the hands of the Postgraduates themselves”, they continued.
They also reassured postgraduate students that they will have access to all available supports from the Union.
“TCDSU exists to advocate for and support all students. Every Postgraduate Student can avail of our services, including but not limited to the pastoral or academic support provided by the Sabbatical Officer Board.”
TCDSU also announced recently that it would no longer be working with the GSU following “allegations of sexual misconduct against the Graduate Students’ Union President” and constitutional breaches that took place during its previous election period.
In a statement, TCDSU said: “Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) takes the allegations of sexual misconduct against the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) President extremely seriously, as well as previous concerns regarding multiple constitutional breaches during the last GSU election period.”
“Student safety – coupled with the preservation of their democratic voice – are two of our largest priorities.”
“In light of these ongoing investigations, we cannot, in good conscience, refer students to the GSU at this present time.”
“TCDSU will not be engaging with the GSU nor seeking to renew our Memorandum of Agreement until such a point as these concerns are resolved.”
“In the meantime, we continue to work as hard as we can to meet the needs of all Trinity students. Any student, undergraduate or postgraduate, can avail of our services or send us inquiries.”
“We as a Union exist to care and fight for all students in Trinity. We intend to hold a Postgraduate (PG) town hall meeting in the coming weeks to further address the needs of PG students”, the statement added.
In a statement to The University Times on the allegations, Junior Dean Philip Coleman said: “I note there are reports that a certain student has been disciplined for sexual misconduct. I am happy to confirm that this is not the case. I will not be commenting further.”
This article was updated on Thursday 22nd September to include a statement from TCDSU.
This article was updated on Friday 4th November to include a statement from the Junior Dean.