Sep 22, 2022

Former GSU President Resigns

The resignation follows controversy surrounding allegations made against the former GSU President.

Faye MaddenDeputy News Editor

The former President of the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) has resigned today.

This resignation follows “allegations of sexual misconduct” against the GSU President that surfaced earlier this week.

It was also alleged that constitutional breaches took place during the last GSU election cycle, in which he was elected.


In the former President’s resignation letter seen by The University Times, he stated: “Neither my Vice-President nor I was ever given proper training as part of my transition. Information from the predecessor gave information in an ad hoc manner.”

He added that neither he nor the current Vice-President have been given access to the GSU bank account and that they have not been paid since September 1st.

“At that point, the account was still under the control of the former president. Our attempts to contact the treasurer have come to no fruition”, he said.

The President stated that he had “notified the executive about this numerous times” but had not received a reply.

Speaking about the events that led to the resignation, he said he “denied [the allegations] unequivocally” at the executive meeting called to discuss the allegations against him.

He added that he would “like an independent investigation into the allegations to take place”.

“I look forward to fully cooperating. I’ve nothing to hide.”

The allegations are what he cites as his primary motive for stepping down from the position. “Whilst I continue to deny the allegations, I cannot reasonably expect postgraduate students to trust the Union whilst I am in charge. Thus, it is best for the GSU that I leave.”

He added: “I stood in the election because I wanted secure workers’ rights for doctoral students and improve logistics for non-EU students.”

“During my short tenure, I spent little time actually helping students because I was chasing administrative issues. I regret leaving the College that I’ve grown to love under these circumstances, but I see no alternative.”

The former President also expressed that, despite concerns about the validity of the elections that took place in July, both he and the Vice-President ran in good faith.

“I understand there are several questions about the legitimacy of the election that Nontyambo and I won. I want to be clear that we stood the election in good faith and had no role in managing it.”

In a statement to The University Times clarifying the situation surrounding the allegations against the President, 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.”

Earlier today, College said it had suspended funding to the GSU following a board meeting.

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 board also “acknowledged the importance of ensuring postgraduate students are represented in all relevant committees and forums”.

It mandated Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (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”, they 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 it 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 TCDSU.

“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.”

The former President was elected with 63.83 per cent of the vote after elections were held in July.

The GSU previously told The University Times that elections would be held in June despite the constitutional requirement that they be held during Hilary Term.

This article will be updated with more information as we receive it.

September 22nd, 18:45: this article was updated to include the President’s resignation letter, which he showed to this newspaper.

October 17th, 11:21: this article was updated to include a statement from the Junior Dean regarding the allegations against the former GSU President.

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