OC: Multiple constitutional breaches by TCDSU president “undermines trust in the union”

Molnárfi defended his breaches of chapter 1.4, describing it as “ineffective and out-of-touch with the student population”

The Oversight Commision (OC) has ruled that the multiple constitutional breaches by Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President László Molnárfi “undermines trust in the union and constitution”.

In a report circulated among union council members seen by Trinity News, the OC, the union body responsible for policy interpretation and investigating constitutional breaches, ruled that Molnárfi has acted both in breach of the constitution and of his duties as president.

The OC has therefore recommended a motion of censure against the president at TCDSU council tomorrow evening, the strongest reprimand that council can give an officer without calling for an impeachment of that officer.

Earlier in the year, the OC ruled that a voter registration campaign launched by Molnárfi and Citizenship Officer Ella MacLennan urging students to vote against the current government violated section 1.4 of the constitution which requires the union to act “independent of any political, racial or religious ideology”.

The OC report noted that Molnárfi has received “several warnings” throughout the year and outlined a number of previous violations made by Molnárfi throughout the year.

The report said Molnárfi breached the constitution “most significantly” in an interview with Manchester-based student publication The Mancunion in which he admitted that his breaches of chapter 1.4 are “grounds for impeachment” but said “no one will do it because our faction has a lot of support”.

The OC said this statement was a breach of chapter section 3.4.2(a) that sabbatical officers must “act in the furtherance of the aims and principles of this constitution”.

“The president is a servant of the union and is required to represent every student. Claiming that you are a member of a faction is incompatible with both the president’s contractual and constitutional duties to do so.”

“Saying the constitution does not apply to you and implying that you will violate the constitution undermines trust in the union and the constitution. This has serious consequences for the union ranging from decreased engagement in the mildest case to the loss of funding from the capitations committee in the most extreme case.”

Molnárfi noted later in his interview with the Mancunion that his “faction” was the far-left and “students definitely support our faction over the hacks, the bureaucrats, and the moderates”.

The OC also received a complaint last month regarding a social media post from Molnárfi which promised to “keep being political in defiance of 1.4” after a motion to hold a referendum on 1.4 failed to pass at council.

“The president has a duty to uphold the constitution. Stating publicly that you intend to defy section 1.4 whilst not a breach of the section 1.4 itself is still a serious breach of the Constitution”, the OC report said.

The OC noted its recommendation of censure against Molnárfi is “not a reflection on the policies but on the important recognition of knowing and intentional breach by an elected and salaried official, who is obligated to uphold the democratically enacted constitution”.

In a statement to Trinity News Molnárfi defended his decision to act against chapter 1.4 of the constitution: “Why should a student union not be able to call out right-wing conservatives, who are actively destroying the country and who hate students, staff and the ordinary people of Ireland?”

“In this way, this is a prime example of why 1.4 should be changed, because what we have currently is not working. It is outdated, ineffective and out-of-touch with the student population.”

“We need to abolish 1.4, abolish bureaucracy and install grassroots governance structures throughout the union. The grassroots, radical and a political approach this year in the union has delivered us many successes, as well as a more engaged student population, because we are creating a strong student movement that can stand up to the College, as well as to the state, and challenge the authorities.”

Posting from the TCDSU president X account, Molnárfi said he and others “are coordinating a response against” the OC report and recommendation and invited people to join their group.

Charlotte Kent

Charlotte Kent is the Co-News Editor at Trinity News and a Senior Freshman PPES Student.