Minutes from an executive meeting which took place on September 21st were published today. The controversy surrounding the removal of abortion information was the main topic discussed at this meeting.
During this meeting it was stated that three out of four sabbatical officers had no confidence in Katie Ascough’s ability to lead the SU as its President. Those three officers are Niall Torris (Graduate Officer), Robert Sweeney (Education Officer), and Barry Murphy (Campaigns and Communications Officer).
Torris said the following during the meeting: “Problem with winging – it is not a question of pro choice pro life. Leadership is a question here. Promise made to electorate of delegation. That was not the case once Katie entered– Matter in hand is that a falsity was given to the electorate. Good work has been done over summer. She has betrayed the electorate. Graduate officer states no confidence in President.”
College Officers expressed disappointment that they weren’t informed about what was happening with the Winging It in UCD Handbooks.
Rosaleen Al Johmani, one of the Arts and Human Sciences Officer made the following statement: “On Behalf of the college officers and I we want to state that we weren’t informed on what happened with the winging it book until it was too late, we had no input before the decision was made, nor were asked. We don’t want this to happen again, as we have also been elected and are dedicating time to this organisation and are being affected by its decisions too. We’d also like to state our disappointment in Katie, as she has gone against everyone in the student’s union, as well as the 1988 mandate which as a result has not represented her executive council, nor has it the student body. We have lost our trust in Katie as president.”
According to the minutes, the sabbatical officers had met to discuss the issue of removing the abortion information from the book. Murphy says of this meeting: “Katie then decided as President to remove price list due to legal concerns, sabbatical officer rejected this and Katie made an executive decision to pull the the abortion information. Initial decision around individual liability was that College officers were to be warned. After over 2 hours argument with Katie, officers decided to walk out of the meeting. Reason for this walk out was that all Sabbat’s advice had been given to protect Katie and the union and the role of the president. Katie would not take this on board.–”
Torris criticised Ascough’s action regarding the removal of the abortion information: “She promised to delegate it. You said this was well researched. People voted on this. You did not well research this. Whether this was done in ignorance or cynicism is not the issue. You present a falsity to the electorate.”
In the minutes, Murphy says: “Katie then requested negotiation around the UCD for choice stand and recruiting of pro-choice class reps.” He then says to Ascough: “I have no confidence in you and this has betrayed the electorate.” Ascough responded: “I could not delegate a legal issue. Sorry to Barry for not more inclusion. Book was changed from here’s info to then showing students how to get info. Union lawyer was consulted; this lawyer specializes in the Students’ Unions.”
It was at this point during the meeting that the legal advice Ascough had received was distributed. This was the first time sabbatical officers were provided the written legal advice relating to the abortion information in the Winging It books.
Motions passed during the meeting were the following:
To allow Campaigns and Communications Officer to recruit pro-choice class reps.
To ensure all future discussions on pro-choice issues with President to be minuted.
To keep College Officers informed by all Sabbatical Officers on matters which affects college officers and all major decisions.
To ensure the Lawyer is to be accessible to Campaigns and Communications Officer and any staff member specifically with pro choice matters.
That pro-choice issues should be discussed with Campaigns and Communications Officer and a Staff member.