A majority of senior members of the Central Societies Committee (CSC) have resigned this evening over a controversy surrounding its chair Ryan Grunwell.
Earlier this evening, The University Times reported that CSC secretary Ultan Pringle and executive member Megan Ní Mhathúna had resigned over Grunwell’s “refusal” to step down after screenshots of sexually charged messages he sent on Tinder three years ago were posted on Twitter.
Pringle has since confirmed to this newspaper that the committee’s Amenities Officer James Spillane and executive members Alice Lennon, Aoife Daly, Seamus Small, Rioghnach Hyland, Christiana Popoola and Claire Stafford have also stepped down.
Yesterday, a Twitter user named Amy with the handle @discobands posted five screenshots of a Tinder conversation between her and Grunwell in 2018.
She described the messages as “concerning/creepy”, saying: “At the time I honestly didn’t take these as seriously as I should have but reading back over them I really see how bad they are.”
Grunwell did not respond to a request for comment by the publication.
However, in an email statement to The University Times earlier today, Grunwell said: “I was disappointed to read of the Secretary’s resignation on the basis of unfounded allegations which have emerged against me on social media, and I wish Ultan the very best in all of his future endeavours.”
“Since they were posted”, he added, “a large number of people have become privy to a partial transcript of a private conversation, which gave an inaccurate representation of events, as it was preceded and succeeded by a greater number of messages than were displayed publicly”.
“Pursuant to legal advice which I have received on this matter, I cannot in good conscience resign my position as Chair of the Central Societies Committee, and I will continue to take further steps to clear my good name.”
Pringle told this newspaper: “We asked him for his resignation and said we needed it yesterday. If he was going to do it, he was to do it yesterday, and he wrote back and said he would not be doing so.”
“According to the CSC constitution, motions at an AGM have to be brought forward seven days before the AGM, but the AGM is actually tonight”, he continued. “There is no way we could impeach constitutionally.”
“The thought process is: he is our chairperson, his conduct makes us look bad and puts us into disrepute and the CSC doesn’t endorse actions like that.”
The CSC AGM is currently taking place, at which a new executive committee will be elected.