Two weeks ago, this Editorial Board wrote that Trinity’s Central Societies Committee (CSC) had seriously undermined College societies through its questionable interpretation of its own constitution, which has allowed the committee to postpone its elections for six months.
The committee claimed that the constitution required its AGM – during which a new committee would be elected – to be held in person, despite instructing societies to shift their own AGMs online due to lockdown in Ireland.
Now, the CSC has said that it will run its AGM online on September 30th, with no explanation as to why it is now seemingly constitutional to elect its executive remotely.
Trinity students return to lectures tomorrow, and given the disastrous outbreaks of coronavirus in the US and Scotland, as well as all the complications that will come with online classes, it’s fair to say that this CSC debacle is probably not at the forefront of many minds. But it is important to pull up the committee on its posturing: why did it initially insist that its AGM could not be held online? When was the decision made to row back on this claim and go ahead with a virtual AGM?
This newspaper asked the CSC for comment as this story unfolded, and for the most part, the committee has been less than enthusiastic to offer up its side of the story, failing to explain the U-turn on its refusal to hold an AGM online.
It is clear that the CSC has not been upfront and honest about its AGM – if its initial justification is valid, then it has contradicted this by moving online. On the other hand, if an online AGM is legitimate, then the committee’s justification was dishonest in the first place.
Trinity students may not be losing sleep over this – indeed, many may be entirely unaware of what is going on. But it is precisely these issues – such as constitutional breaches and unexplained U-turns – that need to be flagged and questioned. The CSC has control over societies and by extension a hefty chunk of students’ lives and cash.
For this reason, those in question must – when asked – provide a legitimate explanation for their actions and decisions. The CSC has failed on most counts to do this.