A petition created by DCU Feminist Society (FemSoc) called for the resignation of the Accounting & Finance (A&F) society after ‘gross misconduct’ at the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) held on 4th October.
The misconduct mentioned in an open letter mainly authored by Amy Ní Cholgáin, the Chairperson of FemSoc, was in relation to the initiation process designed by the society for first-year committee positions. The first-year hopefuls were paired up and put through trials such as bursting a balloon between their hips, single participants shifting each other and participants in relationships making break-up phone calls to their partners, according to Charlie Kinsella, the participant who broke the story to the College View.
The DCU Students’ Union responded to the actions at the EGM by suspending the A&F society from social activity for the remainder of semester one this year.
“DCU Students’ Union works very hard to promote and foster a culture of inclusivity and belonging amongst the student body and the conduct of students at this meeting completely impedes this culture,” said the DCU Students’ Union in a statement on Twitter.
The EGM fell on the same day as the last of DCU’s smart consent workshops. The workshop had attracted over 15% of first years throughout the week. The aim was to teach students that ‘consent should be ongoing, mutual and freely given’. However, consent was never mentioned at the A&F EGM according to Kinsella.
A second EGM was held on 15th October intending to allow first years a second chance to run for the committee. During the meeting, the head of A&F Oran O’Donoghue announced the suspension of the society. He stated that the Student Union had made a ‘harsh punishment’ and claimed that A&F aren’t alone in this and other societies do similar things at their EGMs.
The open letter felt that the punishment was not sufficient and called instead for a forced ‘immediate resignation of the entire A&F Society governing committee’.
As an extra measure, they suggested additional consent classes be run on campus and that DCU smart consent should be more readily available as a programme throughout the year.
DCU Feminist Society shared the open letter as a petition on Change.org on 17th October. The petition was backed by 31 DCU clubs and socs and sought 200 signatures. FemSoc further organised a protest in DCU’s new student hub the ‘U’ to further push the message of the open letter.
“I am being told that the petition may not have been 100% accurate, “ said Lee Licayan, a DCU student who attended the protest. “It’s all he said/she said at the moment. I believe a student petition would have proved more reasonable than a society petition as a society shouldn’t make a stance for all of its members such as this. I’m not ready to continue the condemnation of A&F until I get the facts straight myself.”
DCU Students’ Union reiterated to students that Student Support and Development is on hand for anyone affected by the event.