Early this morning, UCDSU President Katie Ascough released an open letter on her Fight4Katie campaign page. Ascough is currently the subject of an impeachment referendum in UCD. It is the second open letter to UCD students she has released during her campaign.
In the letter, Ascough urges students to vote no to her impeachment.
Ascough tells UCD students her side of the story that has led to this impeachment referendum.
It all started when Ascough decided “not to distribute the Winging It books. Doing so would have been illegal.”
Many times during the campaign, the ‘proud history’ of a Student’s Union that has broken the law has come up. People have been referencing the SU’s past of distributing condoms when they were illegal, and the distribution of illegal abortion information.
Ascough writes: “Is it fair that I break the law too? I ran on a platform of things like cutting the cost of college and improving mental health supports. I did not agree to break the law and run the risk of a criminal conviction for the rest of my life.”
The impeachment campaign maintain Ascough tried to block increases in the Repeal budget. In her letter, Ascough denies attempting to decrease the budget for the Repeal the 8th campaign.
“The fact is, the Repeal budget has been increased this year compared to last year, and it was never cut in any way. If a pro-choice president asked the same questions would this be called ‘forceful manipulation?’ I doubt that it would.”
A variety of issues have been raised regarding the Winging It scandal, amongst them, disputes over the handling of legal advice. Ascough addresses these issues.
“Another question is why didn’t I share the legal advice sooner with the sabbats. The COO and I discussed at length the illegality and its implications, but the sabbatical officers still wanted to move ahead. The illegality ultimately wasn’t an issue for them. And that’s fine. They wanted to take the risk upon themselves, and that can be considered noble by some. But it is not very noble of four men to gang up and demand that one woman, against her will, break the law. You cannot mandate someone to break the law, even our own UCDSU Constitution recognises this. It was not right and it was not fair to try to make me do something against my will, and then to say that the advice they were giving me was for my own sake. That argument doesn’t stand up and is self-serving. They wanted me to do something illegal and I didn’t want to do it – that is the bottom line. And when I didn’t do what they wanted me to do, they did not forgive me for this. Shortly after, all but one called for no confidence in me as their President. This, to me, is inherently unfair and, yes, is the essence of bullying.”
Ascough ends her letter by promising students a committed president determined to fix the problems that have arisen over the past few weeks, and asks students to vote no.
“It is a shame to see this happen to our Union. There has been a lot of stress and pressure on everyone in the Union over the last few weeks. But I am willing, ready, and determined – if UCD students Vote No – to return to my job on Friday morning and begin to mend what has been broken. Please Vote No to see your representation restored. Please Vote No for fair treatment of someone who chose to not break the law. And please Vote No to stand up for a President who is committed to you.”
Voting continues for UCD students today.