A petition is being circulated calling for the removal of The University Times Editor’s salary and on-campus accommodation from 2020/2021 onwards.
The petition to change the constitution of the Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) would also see the paper get just €3,000 a year to go towards publishing in print – this would cover just one issue.
If the petition is signed by more than 500 people, a student-wide referendum will be triggered.
This comes after the paper suffered severe backlash as a result of its reporting of a hazing ceremony carried out by the Knights of the Campanile. During the ceremony, reporters from The University Times placed a recording device outside of the apartment of Ben Arrowsmith, the captain of the Knights of the Campanile, as they waited in the corridor out of sight listening to the events, which could be heard clearly from outside the apartment.
In an email statement, the Editor of the The University Times, Eleanor O’Mahony, responded to the petiton, saying: “This proposal would represent the decimation of The University Times‘s funding. The immediate aftermath of controversy like this is not the time to make decisions about the long-term future of the paper.”
“It would also seem to me that this change would require a student to do the job of editing Ireland’s largest student newspaper for free”, she said, “and under the same rules and expectations as other sabbatical positions within the union.”
“The University Times has voluntarily asked for the Oversight Board to conduct a full and fair investigation into our reporting and we would ask students to allow this process to play out before any sudden decisions are made”, she added.
Yesterday, senior staff members of The University Times released a statement, defending the recording of the ceremony and said that they had requested that TCDSU Board of Trustees convene the Oversight Board of the paper to investigate the reporting.
Trinity News on Friday reported that a complaint had been lodged to the Junior Dean regarding the investigation. On Monday, the Editor of Trinity News, Niamh Lynch, and Contributing Editor Rory O’Sullivan called for O’Mahony’s resignation.
The Junior Dean, Tim Trimble, has not, as of yet, contacted The University Times with regard to an investigation into the reporting.
The Knights of the Campanile is an elite, all-male group of Trinity sportspeople. On Wednesday, February 27th, reporters from The University Times witnessed an initiation ceremony for members of the Knights of the Campanile – the elite, invite-only Trinity sporting society.
Earlier this year, The University Times reported on a culture of hazing within Dublin University Boat Club (DUBC), which was picked up by major national news outlets. The investigation revealed that, in the last decade, novices have often faced a night of excessive drinking, commands to strip to their underwear, and whipping with bamboo sticks. The story was picked up by every major national media outlet.
Correction: March 20th, 3.15pm
An earlier version of this article said that 200 signatures would be necessary to trigger a referendum. In fact, 500 are needed according to TCDSU’s constitution.