May 28, 2013

Statement from Tom Lenihan regarding College disciplinary proceedings

Photo: Shauna Watson

Photo: Shauna Watson

Incoming SU President Tom Lenihan has released the following statement in light of revelations made in this morning’s Herald concerning¬†disciplinary¬†proceeding which have been enacted against him by College.¬†

“In recent days, there has been some speculation in the print and social media about disciplinary action taken against me by¬†Trinity College¬†authorities. I want to set out the facts of this matter.

Two weeks ago, I took a note into one of my third years law exams. The note was seen by an invigilator and, as a consequence, I was brought before a disciplinary hearing for breach of the College examination rules. The outcome of that hearing, which I fully accept, is that I must repeat the exam in question.

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I greatly regret my action and I sincerely apologise to the students and to the College for my behaviour. I have apologised to the Junior Dean and I will fully comply with the sanction imposed on me.

At this remove, it is not clear to me what I hoped to achieve by taking the note into the exam but I fully accept that any observer could only conclude that I was cheating. What I did was wholly wrong and unacceptable. It was also uncharacteristic.

Since my election as President of the Students’ Union last February, I have been experiencing some personal difficulties. I have been diagnosed with depression and, unfortunately, I had neglected my medical treatment which exacerbated my condition. I found myself unable to cope mentally and physically. Getting through the day became a struggle. As the exams loomed closer, I became more stressed. On the morning of the exam in question, I had a panic attack and in a random irrational reaction, I took the note into the exam hall. I had suffered several panic attacks throughout the exam period.

None of this is to excuse my behaviour, for which I take full responsibility, but it does provide context.

Immediately after the incident, I told the current president of the Students‚Äô Union and my fellow sabbatical officers what had happened. They have offered me their full support and confidence, for which I am deeply grateful. I will do all I can in the fulfilment of my role over the next year to reward their trust.”

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