Dr Sarah Alyn-Stacey, who had applied to be a candidate in the Provost election, twice appealed her rejection by the election’s Interview Committee but was unsuccessful both times.
College Registrar Dr Brendan Tangney said in an email to staff on Friday evening that while he did not “wish to comment on any individual application,” he could confirm that the College Board had been told “one unsuccessful applicant at the interview stage did take an appeal to the Appeals Committee and subsequently to the Visitors”, but that “in both cases the appeal was rejected”. He added that the Visitors had stated “that in their view the procedures as laid down in the Statutes were adhered to”.
Speaking to Trinity News, Alyn-Stacey confirmed that she was the applicant Tangney referred to. She also said that the decisions by the Interview Committee, Appeals Committee and Visitors were in her view “difficult to understand”.
“I have never been told (verbally or otherwise) at any stage by the Interview Committee, Appeals Committee, or the Visitors, that I do not have a prima facie case for continuing in the election. The failure by the Visitors or any of the Committees and the Registrar to engage with this prima facie test is mystifying and unhelpful.”
Alyn-Stacey said that while the Interview Committee had found that she met the criterion of “significant academic standing”, it did not believe her to possess “evidence of capacity for management and administration” or “evidence of leadership skills” and that this was the reason her application was rejected.
She said that she believed she did present sufficient evidence in these two areas, making reference to her position on the College Board and University Council, as well as her foundation of the Trinity Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and a number of other achievements.
Alyn-Stacey also said that “counter to the democratic principles which should govern College, the election’s integrity has been undermined and it cannot be considered a free and open competition”. She also made reference to an excerpt from the Visitors’ ruling, which stated that the Interview Committee’s decision not to include her in the election “also affects the interests of individual electors, since the decision will determine the composition of the field of candidates”.
In his email, Tangney assured staff that “the College community can rest assured that the process followed to date is fully in compliance with the Statutes”. He explained the workings of the interview process and said that the Steering Committee, of which he is the chair, would ensure that the election is “transparent, fair and fully compliant with the College Statutes”.
The Registrar concluded by saying that “the Statutes provide that decisions of the Visitors shall be binding upon all members of the College community”.
The College Visitors are responsible for hearing internal appeals against the Board and other bodies within College. The incumbent Visitors are former President Mary McAleese, Chancellor of the University, and President of the Court of Appeal Justice George Birmingham, the government-appointed Judicial Visitor.
Three candidates are running for the position of Provost; Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Professor Linda Doyle, and Professor Linda Hogan. The election will take place on April 10, and all full-time staff as well as a number of representatives of Trinity College Dublin’s Students’ Union (TCDSU) and Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) will be eligible to vote.
The winner of the election will take office on August 1 for a period of ten years.