The Arts Society (ArtsSoc) and Business and Legal (B&L) Society have had their fine of €5,000, issued by the Societies Recognition Committee halved to €2,500. The fine was originally handed down for posters for the event ‘The Virgin Ball’ which were considered to be “insidious and dangerous” to students by the committee.
Chairman of the Societies Council, Stephen Whelan, said that the fine had been reduced in recognition of an apology issued by the Auditor of ArtsSoc, Niamh Kiely, and the Auditor of the B&L Society, Aoife McGuinness, who had “understood, in hindsight, that the posters were offensive and that perhaps they hadn’t given them enough consideration in the first place.”
Considering an appeal from the societies to rescind the find entirely, Recognition Committee found that the societies’ apology was not sufficient in itself to merit a complete dismissal of the fine. “The appeal didn’t make any substantial changes to the last committee meeting,” Whelan said, explaining that “the committee decided that the appeal that they had made didn’t change any of the original findings of the first sitting, so decided to uphold their views on the poster.” He also said that the auditors’ quick response to the request of the UCD Societies Officer, Richard Butler, that they remove the offending posters was also considered by the committee, which decided that “the fine was excessive and decided to make it a little more, as they saw it, lenient.”
The posters in question were distributed around campus advertising The Virgin Ball, an event that the two societies were running together during the first week of Semester One. The poster advertised the event by encouraging attendants to “lose your V-plates”. In a statement released to The University Observer when the fine was first issued, Butler said “the Committee considered that the message conveyed by the poster was insidious and dangerous, and that it constituted a deliberate act of emotional manipulation designed to prey upon the gears and worries of students at an especially vulnerable time in their university career.”
The fine will be split equally between the two societies, and will be donated to the Student Welfare Fund.