UCD Students’ Union and UCD now face criticism over their handling of an alleged rape on campus in the early hours of last Friday morning. The union have confirmed that they were made aware of the case on Monday 28th November.
The alleged incident was not communicated to the wider student body until Tuesday afternoon, 29th November. This followed the widespread report of the investigation in national media.
Students have expressed concern with how the information was handled. Speaking to the University Observer School of Social Sciences and Law student Aoife, noted that she had approached UCDSU about the incident and had asked if there would be any statement to inform the rest of the student body “that their safety may be compromised.” She was unhappy with their response noting “I didn’t like the way they responded to me, I feel as though they wanted to keep it hush hush under the auspice of saying that by releasing anything to do with the attack it could compromise the case… I also feel that UCD were protecting their reputation at everyone’s expense.”
Aoife went on to say that “I absolutely feel that the UCD response is a reaction to all the social media platforms reporting on it… The SU were aware of said attack so surely the president was aware of it too. People leave the library late at night these days due to exams and study etc, it is really important information and the student body deserve to be told.”
UCDSU have confirmed that they alerted College authorities as soon as they were aware of the incident on Monday morning. A spokesperson for the union explained that “these college authorities are in contact with An Garda Siochána. We were advised by the Gardaí that publicising reports under investigation to the general public will compromise the integrity of the investigation and bring unasked for attention on the victim.”
They have also confirmed that they will not be publishing any public statement on the incident. UCDSU have also publicised a “walk-safe service” that is available to students year round to escort them on campus late at night.
UCDSU noted that they had “requested that the college issue an all student email about supports on campus for students feeling unsafe.”
Aoife went on to note that “while the victims privacy needs to be respected, the university and the SU have a responsibility to keep the students informed as the attack is a direct threat on their health and safety.” UCDSU also noted that protecting the victim was of utmost importance, “we must now respect the integrity of the investigation and the victim at the heart of the investigation. Therefore, we will not be issuing a public statement on the investigation.”
At the time of writing UCD had not yet replied to a request for comment.
The incident comes at a particularly busy time of year for students, as many study late on campus approaching exams.
For more information on the walk safe service click here.