UCD Students’ Union President Pat de Brún has filed a complaint to Trinity Students’ Union following the publication of “wholly inappropriate” comments aimed at a former UCDSU sabbatical officer in one of Trinity College’s student papers, the University Times.
Overall, de Brún considered the article, a satirical piece entitled ‘You should have gone to UCD’ to be “funny and in good spirits, just general rivalry banter” but deemed jibes made at last year’s UCD Ents Officer Jonny Cosgrove unacceptable.
“I have no problem at all with any form of college or any other form of media looking at the performance of an elected officer, that’s part and parcel of the job. I think it becomes inappropriate when the person has left the role and gone back to being a student. When that person is a member of this Union I think we have a duty to look after them.”
Though de Brún insists that he filed a complaint to “let them [UT] know of my dissatisfaction and the Union’s dissatisfaction with that article”, the Editor of The University Times, Ronan Costello, insists that “my reading of it, I wouldn’t have seen it as a complaint from UCDSU, I think it was a complaint on behalf of a friend really”.
Though Costello says that he will be issuing neither an apology nor a retraction as “it was a satirical opinion piece, it wasn’t meant to be taken as seriously as people have taken it”, he concedes that “it was in our Freshers’ Week edition, targeted specifically towards Freshers, it was just to make those who were coming in feel good about their choice”.
“There’s an inevitability about the reaction to it. Some people were going to like it and some people weren’t. It’s doing the rounds now; it’s one of the most read articles we’ve ever posted. So I’m guessing that more people liked it than didn’t.
“When you put something like that up, there’s a Facebook widget there and it would get recommended by people if they like it. I thought it was a satirical opinion piece and it was filed under such a headline on the website. The writer’s byline is Spoofer-in-Chief”.
De Brún has received a reply from Costello which did not include an apology, “it was along the lines of it is appropriate to comment on things of that nature and past officers because they were once elected”.