GSU committee investigates allegations of inappropriate behaviour against GSU President

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

The executive committee of the Graduates’ Student Union (GSU) is currently investigating allegations of inappropriate behaviour made against the GSU President.

The president 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 the president  engaged in his role as a teaching assistant, which took place at an event hosted by the College Historical Society (the Hist).

The GSU President 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 the president 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 the president made them uncomfortable, and that his alleged behaviour was “persistent”.

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

Trinity News has confirmed that in February 2022, the GSU President 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 the president issue a letter of apology to the student involved in the Hist incident.

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

The GSU President was later notified that this offer had been retracted “as per instruction from the Senior Dean”, and that he would instead be relocated to Pearse Street.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

Following the publication of an interview in Trinity News two weeks ago, which identified the GSU President, 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 he ran for GSU President.

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 –

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.

This article was updated on October 10 to remove the former GSU President’s name, as per his request.

Following the publication of this article, the GSU President refuted these claims.

“First of all, I wasn’t contacted for comment. Furthermore, I have never engaged in sexual misconduct. That phrase has a very specific definition by College. There was a complaint issued against me to the Junior Dean (not the Senior Dean as reported) in February, but nothing that would fall under “sexual misconduct”. There was also no persistent behaviour on my part. I have never made any sexual advances toward anybody at Trinity, and I never asked out anybody whom I taught or marked as a TA.
The Executive did call a meeting about certain allegations this past Friday. At no point did I say “It’s not a crime to ask someone out.” 
It is true that I did request a room in the GMB for my GSU Presidency. It is also true that the Senior Dean revoked it. It is not true that an explanation was never provided; the Senior Dean explained to me that my accommodation was revoked due to questions about the legitimacy of the election. He later agreed to reinstate the accommodation, but I was told the GMB had been booked up. The Senior Dean has confirmed to me that his decision to revoke had nothing to do with the prior complaints.
The reason for using a different name during the election was simply because people have difficulty pronouncing and spelling it. Indeed, Trinity News has misspelt my name on two different occasions; the headline in my interview. In my interview, he implied that using different names may make it more difficult for people to get in touch with me. Henceforth I’ve used [redacted].
I have never silenced any students, nor have I attempted to. I have never refused to engage with College media, as evidenced by my recent interview with Trinity News. I also have no interest in an electoral career. 
I also want to mention that my wages currently rely on the GSU reserves, over which I’ve not been given control or been made a signatory. I’ve not been paid for the past two weeks. I’ve tried to contact the former president, asking her to hand over control of the accounts and send my wages. She hasn’t complied. My VP also hasn’t been paid for the past two weeks. Attempts to contact the treasurer have been to no avail. 
It’s important for me to mention that in my meeting with the Executive, the Oversight Officer made note of information that I had only provided to the former GSU President in her then-capacity as GSU President i.e. in confidence.”