GSU President was not disciplined for sexual misconduct, junior dean states

The GSU President has refuted allegations of inappropriate behaviour

The junior dean has confirmed that the GSU President was not disciplined by College for sexual misconduct.

In a statement to Trinity News this evening, the Junior Dean Philip Coleman said: “I note there are reports that a certain student has been disciplined for sexual misconduct.”

“I am happy to confirm that this is not the case,” the statement continued. “I will not be commenting further.”

The statement follows allegations against the GSU President which are currently under investigation by the GSU, which a source from the GSU told Trinity News “were of a sexual nature”.

In a statement to Trinity News this evening, the GSU President addressed the allegations: “I have never engaged in sexual misconduct. That phrase has a very specific definition by College.” 

The president confirmed that though a complaint was made against him to the junior dean in February, it did not relate to anything which “would fall under sexual misconduct”.

The story posted to Trinity News on Sunday evening, September 18, initially incorrectly reported that allegations had been brought to the senior dean, rather than the junior dean. The article was amended at 7.22pm on Sunday to correct this. 

The error also appears in the print edition of Trinity News. Trinity News regrets this error. 

The president added: “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.”

They confirmed that the GSU executive committee had called a meeting on Friday, but said that “at no point did I say ‘It’s not a crime to ask someone out’”, a quote which a source within the GSU verified to Trinity News.

The GSU President also addressed the retraction of an accommodation offer in the GMB. While this was not explained to the GSU, the senior dean did explain to the president that the offer was retracted “due to questions about the legitimacy of the election”. 

“When the offer was later reinstated, the GMB had by then been booked up,” the GSU President explained. 

“The Senior Dean has confirmed to me that his decision to revoke had nothing to do with the prior complaints,” the president added.

The GSU President defended his use of a second surname when running for election saying that it was “simply because people have difficulty pronouncing and spelling it”.

They noted two incidents in which his name was misspelt in Trinity News to verify this. Trinity News has corrected these errors, and a note was added to the next print edition. 

The President also explained that it was said to him by a reporter from Trinity News that using different names may make it more difficult for students to reach out, and decided to use another name moving forward. 

They then addressed a comment article published in the print edition of Trinity News, stating it contains “a number of false statements”. 

“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.”

In his statement to Trinity News, the GSU President also spoke about financial problems within the GSU. He explained that his 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,” they continued. “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 [vice president] also hasn’t been paid for the past two weeks. Attempts to contact the treasurer have been to no avail.”

The president included: “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 Ms. Scanlon in her then-capacity as GSU President, i.e. in confidence.”

In a statement to Trinity News this afternoon, a College spokesperson confirmed: “It should be noted that the role of the Junior and Senior Dean is to look into allegations of student misconduct, primarily academic misconduct.”

“Where allegations of a serious criminal nature are made, these cases are referred to the Gardaí,” the statement concluded. 

Investigations into the allegations by the GSU executive committee are ongoing.

Additional reporting by Shannon Connolly.

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

David Wolfe

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