GSU committee investigates allegations of sexual misconduct against GSU President

The allegations pertain to alleged inappropriate behaviour towards a student with whom President Marc Imbillicieri engaged in his role as a teaching assistant

The executive committee of the Graduates’ Student Union (GSU) is currently investigating allegations of sexual misconduct made against GSU President Marc Imbillicieri.

Imbillicieri denied the allegations which were put to him at a meeting of the GSU executive committee on Friday afternoon.

The allegations pertain to alleged inappropriate behaviour towards a student with whom Imbillicieri engaged in his role as a teaching assistant, which took place at an event hosted by the College Historical Society (the Hist).

Imbillicieri was asked by the executive committee if in his role as a teaching assistant, he thought that he had “a level of professionality to uphold”, to which Imbillicieri responded that he had never taught anyone who had brought allegations to the Junior Dean.

The executive committee added that the people who had come forward claimed that Imbillicieri made them uncomfortable, and that his alleged behaviour was “persistent”.

Imbillicieri reportedly told the committee: “It’s not a crime to ask someone out.”

Trinity News has confirmed that in February 2022 Imbillicieri was asked by the auditor of the Hist not to attend events held by the society following allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

Trinity News understands that the Junior Dean requested that Imbillicieri issue a letter of apology to the student involved in the Hist incident.

Imbillicieri was not formally barred from Hist events, nor was his membership of the society revoked, since he complied with the auditor’s request and no longer attended Hist events.

In July of this year, Imbillicieri was granted accommodation in the Graduates’ Memorial Building (GMB) following a specific request to be placed there during his term as GSU President.

Imbillicieri was later notified that this offer had been retracted “as per instruction from the Senior Dean”, and that he would instead be relocated to Pearse Street.

When contacted by the GSU, neither the Junior Dean nor the Senior Dean would offer explanation for the revocation of the offer, a source from the GSU told Trinity News.

Imbillicieri’s decision to run for election under the name Marcos Porfirio, despite usually going by Marc Imbillicieri, also raised questions among members of the GSU executive committee, as he later signed emails using the surname Imbillicieri, and told committee members he preferred to go by Marc.

Speaking to Trinity News in July, Imbillicieri explained that his full name is Marcos Porfirio Imbillicieri, but “people have a lot of difficulty pronouncing the second part of my surname”, leading him to run under the name Porfirio.

Marc Imbillicieri is the name associated Imbillicieri’s personal social media accounts, and he has contributed to student publications using this name. Imbillicieri also ran in a Hist by-election under the name Marc Imbillicieri in October 2021.

Following the publication of an interview in Trinity News two weeks ago, which identified the GSU President as Marc Imbillicieri, an anonymous source notified oversight officers of the GSU of the allegations against him and his being asked not to attend Hist events.

The revelations have called into question the extent to which senior members of College staff were aware of the allegations when Imbillicieri ran for GSU President.

The Senior Dean’s role in retracting the offer of accommodation in the GMB suggests knowledge of Imbillicieri’s relationship with the Hist, which is based in the GMB.

Following the allegations being brought to the GSU, an oversight officer of the GSU contacted the Junior Dean requesting to arrange a meeting to discuss the matter.

The oversight officer received a reply from Aidan Marsh, Executive Officer to both the Junior Dean and Senior Dean, saying: “The Junior Dean acknowledges receipt of your email and has discussed the matter with the Senior Dean.”

The response added that “the Junior Dean does not discuss cases brought to their attention with third parties”, indicating that the allegations had already been brought to the attention of the Junior Dean previously.

The revelations have also highlighted problems with GSU elections held during the summer, which led to a lack of scrutiny of candidates prior to voting taking place.

Campaigning for GSU elections began on June 5 of this year, with hustings scheduled to take place on that date. Hustings was postponed due to vice presidential candidate Nontyatyambo Manyisane contracting Covid-19, however this decision was not communicated to voters.

Hustings instead took place at 12pm on July 12, the same day voting in the elections opened, having been announced less than 11 hours previously at approximately 1am, giving voters and press little notice to attend.

The elections were also subject to multiple constitutional breaches.

According to the 2021 GSU constitution, elections are to be held in Hilary term “save in extraordinary circumstances”, with newly elected sabbatical officers expected to take office on July 4.

The GSU has been subject to a funding freeze since July 2021 after GSU leadership failed to comply with an investigation into its conduct.

A source in the GSU told Trinity News that the executive committee considered these sufficiently “exceptional circumstances” given the delays and obstacles which the funding freeze had led to.

The source added: “The GSU is taking this matter very seriously. The GSU strives towards providing the highest level of care and support”. GSU Vice President Nantyatyambo Manyisane is currently offering a safe space to students affected by this information.

If you have been affected by the issues discussed in this article, the following supports are available:

GSU Vice President – [email protected].ie

TCDSU Welfare Officer – [email protected]

Student Counselling Service – [email protected]

Niteline (9pm-2:30am) – / 1800 793 793

Crisis Text Line – 50808

This article was updated at 7.22pm on 18 September 2022. A previous version of the article incorrectly reported that allegations had been brought to the senior dean, rather than the junior dean. Trinity News apologises for the error.

David Wolfe

David Wolfe is a Junior Sophister student of History and Political Science. He is News Editor of Trinity News, having previously served as Assistant News Editor and as copyeditor.