CSC executive members resign over chair’s conduct

Several members of the CSC executive have resigned after calls for chairperson Ryan Grunwell to step down

Several members of the executive of the Central Societies Committee (CSC) have resigned their positions in a protest against the conduct of chairperson Ryan Grunwell.

These resignations came ahead of tonight’s AGM when a new executive is due to be elected.

James Spillane, the Amenities Officer and Ultan Pringle, the Secretary, as well as Megan Ní Mhathúna, Alice Lennon, Rioghnach Hyland, and Christina Popoola, all Ordinary Committee Members (OCM),  have resigned their positions to signal discontent with the body’s chair, Ryan Grunwell, remaining on the executive team after calls for him to resign.

A meeting of the executive took place this afternoon after screenshots were shared on social media of messages between Grunwell and a woman sent in 2018.

The recipient, sharing them on social media, described the messages as “concerning”.

Grunwell has said that the screenshots are a “partial transcript of a private conversation, which gave an inaccurate representation of events”.

Speaking to Trinity News, Ní Mhathúna said that it was made clear at this afternoon’s meeting that Grunwell had been asked to step down by CSC secretary Ultan Pringle, that he had declined to do so. 

Following the tweets, the CSC executive members “made a group chat without Ryan in it and we were told that they were going to ask him to step down”.

Ní Mhathúna said that Grunwell joined the call midway through the meeting and gave a statement where he asserted that he had sought legal advice on the matter.

Speaking at the meeting, Grunwell said, according to Ní Mhathúna, that the tweets were a smear campaign against him and that there was no mechanism within the CSC constitution to allow for an impeachment. 

Trinity News understands that Ronan Hodson, the Honorary Treasurer of the CSC, said that Grunwell’s assessment of the constitution was correct, and that an impeachment was not possible as a motion to impeach would have been required to have been submitted seven days in advance.

Speaking to Trinity News, Pringle said that Grunwell promised to “get lawyers involved” if he were removed from office in a manner contrary to the organisation’s constitution.

In a statement to Trinity News, Grunwell expressed his disappointment over the resignations which he said were “on the basis of unfounded allegations which have emerged against me on social media, and I wish all of them the very best in all of his future endeavours”.

Referencing the tweets Grunwell said they represented “a partial transcript of a private conversation, which gave an inaccurate representation of events, as it was preceded and succeeded by a greater number of messages than were displayed publicly”. 

“Pursuant to legal advice which I have received on this matter, I cannot in good conscience resign my position as Chair of the Central Societies Committee, and I will continue to take further steps to clear my good name,” he added.

“I just dont think he should be allowed to be a head of a capitated body in College” said Ní Mhathúna.

Spillane tweeted that he “I just couldn’t in good conscience stay if this individual refused to go”.

In a follow-up tweet, he said that “this isn’t about the CSC, it’s about one person. I’m so grateful to everyone else on the CSC, especially the staff, for what’s been a great year for the most part, and I fully appreciate the efforts made to do something.”

Pringle explained that he and the other members of the CSC Executive, with the help of the organisation’s full-time staff “tried everything in our power” to find a way to remove Grunwell from office, “but there’s no way without breaking our own constitution.”

“This just came at such a bad time” Pringle added. “If this happened a week ago, he would have been impeached, I have no doubt.”

Pringle added that he thinks “the CSC is great. It does great work. But I refuse to work under him.”

“If my resignation can say anything, it’s that we don’t endorse that.”

A new executive committee is due to be elected at the CSC’s AGM this evening, which began at 6pm.

The CSC is one of College’s five capitated bodies alongside Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU), the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU), Dublin University Central Athletics Club (DUCAC) and Trinity Publications.

This article was updated at 19:12 on 06/04/21 as further resignations came to light

Finn Purdy

Finn Purdy

Finn Purdy is the current Deputy Editor of Trinity News. He is a Junior Sophister English Studies student, and a former News Editor and Assistant News Editor.

Jack Kennedy

Jack Kennedy

Jack Kennedy is the current Assistant Editor of Trinity News. He is a Senior Sophister Engineering student, and a former Online Editor and Deputy Online Editor.