Former professor approaches Taoiseach over “national scandal”
A former professor at the School of English, Dr Gerald Morgan, has denounced the automatic removal of borrowing rights from the College’s retired academics as a “national scandal”. In an e-mail sent to Dr Sarah Alyn Stacey, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of French, that was seen by Trinity News, Morgan said that the removal of such rights from staff members upon their retirement would render research “impossible”. He also denounced what he described as a “public contempt for academic freedom” held by College authorities.
Morgan went on to bemoan College’s descent in international league tables and added that the current leadership of College “seem not to know (or even to care) why our graduates sacrificed their lives for the College and Ireland in 1939 to 1945.”
Among the figures that Morgan’s e-mail was sent to were the Taoiseach, several cabinet ministers, party leaders, and members of the Oireachtas, as well numerous journalists and several notable academics.
Sociology professor, Barbara Bradby, who also received the e-mail, supported Morgan’s stance and said that she would welcome a reversal of College’s current position, as it would greatly assist retired professors in continuing their research. Thanking her for her intervention, Dr Morgan opined that he would not give in, and stated that “we must consign the irish [sic] tradition of gallant losers to the past.”
Alyn Stacey, an Associate Professor at the Department of French, who was the recipient of the initial e-mail, has since stated that the status of College’s retired academics is currently under review and that “removal of borrowing rights is perhaps the most significant area that needs to be addressed.”
Department of Drama trashed during break-in
Trinity News has learned that the Department of Drama was violently broken into on the night of 12th November. It is understood that significant damage was done to a number of departmental offices during the break-in.The Samuel Beckett Theatre, which is the Department’s campus theatre, was also robbed on the night in question. Several hundred euros is said to have been taken from the premises. Particular damage is understood to have been done to the offices used by departmental staff, with one wall separating two work spaces having been knocked in during the course of the pillage. The thieves departed with an iPhone as well as several laptops. Trinity News understands that an unbound thesis manuscript was also knocked to the ground during the incident.
Dr Brian Singleton, who holds the Samuel Beckett Chair of Drama and Theatre, was unavailable for comment this weekend. The Chief Steward also declined an opportunity to speak to Trinity News about the break-in.
Wrecking ball removed from grounds of US university
A sculpture of a wrecking ball was recently removed from the grounds of an American university amid controversy. The ball was taken down when it came to the attention of college authorities that students were using the monument to reenact scenes from Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” video, in which Cyrus swings on a concrete ball in the nude. According to the Huffington Post, Grand Valley State University (GVSU) authorities claimed that the action was taken in the interest of health and safety. The sculpture had hung outside the science building for eighteen years and images of it went viral soon after the release of Cyrus’ music video. Now in storage, the college authorities have said that they are reviewing the location of the sculpture. Aggrieved students have since organised a memorial service for the ball.
Digitisation of Phil records offers glimpse into society’s past
The recent digitisation of records belonging to the University Philosophical Society (Phil) has revealed a surprising streak of socialist thinking among elements of the society’s membership. In a paper read on 13th November 1919, former Phil president J.C. Davis argued that “the worker must be free to enjoy the benefits of profit-sharing.” Equally, however, “management must not be placed in the position of servant to labour,” he warned. The digitisation of Davis’ address is among several records and minute books to have been recently uploaded to the Phil’s Facebook account.
Though Davis cautioned against nationalisation as a general rule of thumb in his speech, he remarked that it was “probable that that an increase of state control may in individual cases be increasingly necessary.” He also insisted that “there is [no] lasting remedy for labour unrest,” but argued that society’s best hope was through educating its workforce. On a personal level, he added that he looked “forward to the days when universities are filled with workmen.”
Davis also acknowledged the contributions of society members to the recent war effort and paid tribute to the eight former officers of the society who died in the First World War. “We can only say that while the University Philosophical Society stands they shall not be forgotten, since such men by their deaths, have conferred on their society and all connected with it, an honour that does not fade,” he said.
TCD-based LGBT group launch fundraising campaign
An organisation run by students and graduates of Trinity College, Dublin has launched a new fundraising campaign to help them bring their anti-homophobic message to Irish schools. Following the success of a number of pilot workshops last year, “ShoutOut” organisers are now hoping to expand the programme countrywide. Its aims are to raise awareness of LGBT issues among secondary school students, draw attention to the devastating effects of homophobia and transphobia, and to inform other students, or “allies”, of what they can do to support their LGBT classmates.
The workshops are aimed at students under 17 years old because 17 is recognised as the age at which an LGBT individual is most likely to come out and also the most common age to first attempt suicide. A 2012 survey conducted by ShoutOut revealed that 49% of LGBT students in Irish secondary schools have experienced homophobic bullying. ShoutOut intends to change this, it says on its website, by reducing the stigma surrounding LGBT issues and by encouraging dialogue around sexuality in schools. The current fundraising aim is to raise the funds it will need to keep its workshops free for secondary schools.
Visit shoutout.ie for further information.
Cambridge come out on top in first Student Economic Review debate
Deputy Comment Editor
The first of this year’s two Student Economic Review debates, held jointly with the College Philosophical Society, was won by a strong Cambridge team last Thursday night. The motion for the debate was ‘This House would welcome a United States of Europe’, with the College team proposing. After a hard-fought contest, which was both entertaining and enlightening, Cambridge lifted the Vinay Nair Cup at the end of the evening. Trinity lined out with an able debating team made up of Jonathan McKeon (JS PPES), Rónán O’Connor (SF Economics and Sociology), and Gavin Tucker (JS Medicine). College chose to focus not on the details of what a federalised Europe would look like, but instead concentrated on the good of the overall European project, and the benefits that greater integration has brought Europe over the past 60 years. Cambridge, an experienced team of Naomi Hart, Michael Dunn Goejkian and Clara Spera, proved the stronger on the day. They focused in their speeches on the problems posed to greater European unity by national loyalties and the difficulties for democracy in a more integrated Europe. They pointed to the forthcoming referendum on Europe in Britain as proof that the European project has already gone too far in the minds of many voters. After a forceful and spirited performance, Ms. Spera won the Gold Medal for Best Speaker. Speaking from the floor were William Dunne, Brendan O’Nolan, Owen Murphy and James Wilson. They treated the chamber to some additional debating as Gaeilge, leaving the visitors somewhat nonplussed.
Judges on the night were Ainé Lawlor, presenter for RTÉ; Paddy Smyth, Foreign Policy Editor for the Irish Times; John Webster from the British Embassy; and Clodagh McDonnell of the Department of the Environment. The judges weren’t afraid to speak their minds, offering strong criticisms of both teams on the night, but they were unanimous in their decision to give the contest to Cambridge. Dean of Undergraduate Studies Dr. Patrick Geoghegan acted as Chair for the evening. He also gave out his own set of prizes, including ‘First person on the Trinity team to bring up the Irish Famine’, which was won by Rónán O’Connor.
The second Student Economic Review debate, against Harvard, will take place in Week Four of Hilary Term.