An Open Letter to DCU A&F Society, DCU Clubs and Societies, and DCU Students' Union

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An open letter to A&F Society, Club and Societies and DCU Student’s Union:

We are deeply concerned about the unspeakable conduct of the A&F Society governing executive committee at their EGM on Thursday 4th October and the lack of appropriate response thus far. It has come to light that the committee knowingly and repeatedly harassed multiple first year students continuously throughout the event, and in fact, that this harassment took prime focus of the event itself. 

Aside from the obvious fact that this gross misconduct has no part in the democratic election of a first year representative, this behaviour by all accounts constitutes harassment. This is not just a violation of the DCU Policy to Promote Respect and to Protect Dignity (2003) but a deeply serious violation of the trust placed in the A&F governing executive committee by its membership and the DCU student body at large.

It is reprehensible that it was only when these issues were brought to public attention that any action was taken in response to this gross misconduct. At least one sabbatical officer, Karl McGovern, our Vice President for Engagement and Development (who is also a former chair of A&F) was present during the EGM and at no point made any attempt to intervene or put a stop to the deplorable behaviour of the committee. This behaviour went on for over an hour.

Furthermore, the lack of remorse displayed by the A&F committee for their actions, and their insistence that this behaviour is par for the course in other DCU clubs and societies is something we take great issue with. The notion that the exploitation and harassment of members is something that is commonplace in other clubs and societies is offensive and brutally dishonest.

It cannot be ignored that the A&F committee acted from a platform afforded to them by this student body and from a position of power to exploit first year students. It cannot be written off as a mistake or dismissed as innocent ignorance. This is the utmost abuse of power, and it is reprehensible that this occurred not only unchecked, but thus far without any real consequence. These actions perpetuate a culture of objectification, misogyny and entitlement which harms all students on campus, and undermines the efforts of DCU and DCU Students' Union to forge a safer, more inclusive, diverse and accepting community. 

Considering the seriousness of the actions by the committee and the lasting effects that many first year students will now have to grapple with as a result, we do not feel that a one semester suspension from social activities is a sufficient reprimand.

We, the undersigned, formally call for the immediate resignation of the entire A&F Society governing executive committee, who presided over this event. We demand that a portion of the budget allocated to A&F Society be appropriated to run more consent classes on campus, and to expand the availability of the program throughout the year. There is a clear requirement for them. We demand that all society chairs, class representatives and members of DCUSU Executive and Sabbatical teams undergo further consent and respect training to ensure this kind of misconduct does not happen again. We also call for the appropriate resources and supports to be made available to all the students affected by these events.

Signed:

DCU Aikido Club                         

DCU Amnesty International

An Cumann Gaelach                    

DCU DCU AMS                     

DCU Arts & Culture Society         

DCU D&D Society

DCU Engineering Society            

DCU Feminist Society                  

DCU Film Society                         

DCU Fotosoc

DCU Fianna Fáil Society              

DCU Games Society

DCU Harry Potter Society            

Her Campus DCU                        

DCU HeadstARTs                        

DCU LGBTA Society                    

DCU Mental Health  Society           

Ógra Shinn Fhéin DCU     

DCU Postgraduate Society          

DCU Psychology Society             

DCU Philosophy Society

DCU People Before Profit

DCU Redbrick Society                 

DCU Rock Climbing Society

DCU Rotaract                               

DCU Style Society

DCU Social Democrats                

DCU Space & Robotics Club          

DCU Sustainability Society           

DCU Students for Justice in Palestine  

DCU Students for Sensible Drug Policy           



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