‘We Stand By Our Story’

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At Trinity College this week; editor of University Times Eleanor O’Mahony

This week a petition was launched at Trinity College Dublin, calling for the removal of The University Times‘ editor’s salary and their on-campus accommodation from 2020/2021.

The newspaper has claimed that the petition, if successful, would also see the paper get just €3,000 a year to go towards publishing in print – and this would cover just one issue.

It follows the newspaper placing a recording a device outside an on-campus apartment where an initiation ceremony took place of an “elite, invite-only Trinity sporting society”, called the Knights of the Campanile.

On Monday, The University Times‘ rival newspaper Trinity News published an editorial titled: ‘Bugging has destroyed the integrity of the University Times’, in which it said:

“UT have claimed that RTÉ and The Irish Times have used the same methods of source-gathering in the past, but this is not true. Those organisations have never bugged anyone’s home.

“Another crucial difference is that their biggest intrusions were overwhelmingly in the public interest – which is the test applied by courts when trying to establish whether this kind of reporting is legal – as when an RTÉ researcher posed as an employee of Áras Attracta to expose abuse against residents there.

“Whatever you think about The Knights of the Campanile’s “hazing”, it is in no way comparable to such abuses.

“UT’s behaviour is better compared to the News International phone-hacking scandal in the UK in 2011, in which News of the World bugged many high-profile people in British society, including Gordon Brown and the Royal Family. The scandal was so great that it led to the closure of News of the World.”

Further to this…

Eleanor O’Mahony, editor of The University Times, told The Times Ireland edition today:

“The reaction from the Knights of the Campanile has been predictable, but we are more concerned by the response from our fellow journalists in Trinity News, who have essentially called for us to be defunded.

“We stand by our story and the techniques used to report it. We will resist any effort to defund the paper or to chill our future reporting.”

Trinity paper accused of bugging student in ‘hazing’ investigation (The Times Ireland edition)

Previously: Best Haze Of Our Lives

Pics: Jacob

H/T: Christine Bohan

36 thoughts on “‘We Stand By Our Story’

  1. eoin

    “pre drinks” says the high wizard of the secret society. This is what the University Times wrote:

    “On the night of February 27th, members of the society were taken to the apartment of Ben Arrowsmith, the president of the society. There, raised voices could be heard from outside the building as members were taunted, jeered at, and instructed to “bend over”, “get in the shower” and “start whispering insults in each other’s ears”.
    Arrowsmith did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication. This article will be updated once his response has been received.
    Members were told to “open your fucking mouth” and asked: “Why aren’t you on your knees?”
    During the ceremony, those present were also told to eat butter. “Who doesn’t like butter?”, a member said. “You all like butter.”
    “HIV is going on your toast tomorrow”, one said in raised tones.
    “Why are you in the shower?”, one was asked, and reporters could hear the noise of the shower from the corridor.
    The reporters from The University Times heard groaning, gagging and retching sounds emerging from the apartment.
    “It’s gonna be a long night, boys”, members were told before departing in rental cars for an unknown location.

    1. Termagant

      What’s your point? The world’s full of manky gits, that doesn’t meany you can spy on them and report their private goings-on to the world. Nobody was there against their will, no crime was committed.

      1. shortforBob

        There are many bad things that are not crimes.

        I think all involved are about to learn that there is such a thing as bad publicity, and this incident will follow them all.

        1. Termagant

          “There are many bad things that are not crimes.”
          Who decides what is bad? And what the punishment should be? The reason we have laws is to define crimes as the things that we all agree are bad, everything else is subjective. You may not think what this crowd of gobpoos were up to is in any way savoury but they weren’t doing anything to anyone who didn’t want to be there. The world’s full of doms and subs who both agree that it’s a great laugh for one to inflict pain on the other, should they all be pulled into the full light of public humiliation because you don’t like it?

          1. Clampers Outside!

            +1

            It’s all the rage…. All hail the new puritans !

            Even better though, is to sit back and watch them turn on each other as each of them fail to meet the standard.

            Fupp the new puritans!

          2. Nigel

            I think it’s because hazing rituals have a nasty history of bullying and abuse associated with them.Whether this rises to that level, or whether the investigation was justified, I’m not sure, but if the noises can be heard from outside the building, then their own lack of discretion did them in. I suspect BDSM practitioners would be aghast at being held equivalent to inflicting humiliation and abuse on people who may not actually enjoy it in order to be granted entry to some exclusive club, as opposed to activities that bring mutual pleasure for their own sake.

          3. shortforBob

            Nigel already responded eloquently but Trinity has many rules that students are required to follow which certainly aren’t crimes, but they are still required to follow them. It is likely that hazing ritiuals go against anti-bully policies and responsible alcohol policies.

  2. bisted

    …I remember years ago some people were wondering why spats in academia tended to be so nasty and vicious…the agreed answer was that there was so little at stake…

  3. Shane Duffy

    The worrying thing is that some of the muppets who thought this was a good idea might end up in public life and think this is acceptable behavior for a democracy and do it again.

    Strip them of every cent.

  4. newsjustin

    Fellow “journalists”

    This has all the signs of a great US teen movie. Greek-life (lol) baddies being naughty to fellow idiots. Fearless journalist going undercover to expose the scandal. If we could just get a cruel, aged Dean character (Tommy Lee Jones), a sympathetic, though to begin with stand-offish and misunderstood lecturer (LeVar Burton) who ends up being the type you could have a real heart-to-heart with as he sits back-to-front on a chair, and maybe a sassy gay character (Lucas Hedges) who’s a side kick of the lead journo.

  5. shortforBob

    Classic whataboutism, and an attempt to deflect attention.

    Maybe the University Times overreached, but that is one thing and the the behaviour of the Knights is another thing. Both are probably wrong, both will probably be sanctioned for disreputable behaviour, they will all lose, and doubling down on this was a terrible idea.

    I don’t know about the University Times specifically but the University Record they superseded was trash, so the long established Trinity News taking shots at the rival campus newspaper doesn’t surprise me, it is only incidental.

    Even if this pissy little petition gets enough signatures to force it being put to a vote I’d be surprised if the small portion of students that bother to vote in these things will pick the Knights over the University Times.

  6. eoin

    Has anyone contacted the Provost about this alleged instance of hazing? Has anyone contacted the Education Minister, Joe McHugh about this alleged instance of hazing? The Irish taxpayer gives Trinity around €50 million every year. So odd that the focus is on shooting the messenger!

    Also, do we know Master Arrowsmith’s parents, I’d love to congratulate them for their outstanding progeny.

  7. eoin

    Anyone know if Graham Dwyer went to Trinity? Mind you, his was a heterosexual proclivity so probably wouldn’t have had anything to do with this lot.

    1. Rep

      “his was a heterosexual proclivity”

      Based on what? He was married with kids and, unless I am mistaken, kept his bdsm tendencies to women.

  8. Owen C

    Gawker went bust essentially for something less than this. Rights to privacy require the burden of proof on the media publishing, not the person being reported on

  9. eoin

    Journalists have won Pulitzer prizes for something less than this. Rights to privacy are not absolute. The University Times is doing a fine job of exposing hazing and/or initiation practices in Trinity. They had strong grounds to suspect hazing was taking place. Hazing is illegal in law and university codes in other jurisdictions. Why are Joe McHugh the education minister and Mary Mitchell-O Connor the higher education junior minister not all over this? Does Trinity have an anti-hazing code? Given its precarious funding position, you’d think Trinity would be taking strong measures to protect the welfare of its students lest the €50 million from the taxpayer be diverted to other, perhaps more deserving, educational endeavors; why is the taxpayer apparently paying for apartments for these people, it’s quite outrageous and thankfully the University Times is shining a light into a sleazy corner of public funding.

    And just let it sink it. The response by the Trinity management to the story of hazing has NOT been to investigate the hazing or introduce practice codes, but to INVESTIGATE the messenger.

    1. Owen C

      What journalist won a pulitzer for a story that infringed on the privacy of a private individual (not a politician, not a person of significant wealth, not a celebrity, not someone who could be considered person of public interest) who had not broken any laws?

      1. eoin

        That’s tongue-in-cheek, right? Any number of journalistic exposés have been grounded in covert recordings. And not just journalists, I was reminded this week of the sting which nabbed poor auld DeLorean, wasn’t that filmed in his home?

        Of course, great journalism often results in new legislation or changes to the agencies of the State. Maybe the UT should ask some politicians or ministers for their views on hazing, maybe ask the Provost about a hazing code for Trinity, that sort of thing. Because if Trinity won’t come down hard on these practices, the Provost deserves to be kicked out on his mimsy-tushkin (if he needs some butter to salve his sore mimsy, he can head up to Master Arrowsmith’s apartment).

        1. Owen C

          John deLorean was recorded by the FBI in his house, as approved by a judge, doing illegal things. You genuinely don’t see the difference here? My God.

      2. Mark Dowling

        We don’t have certainty that laws were not broken, since the incident could not be viewed by the reporters, only heard.

        In any event, wrongdoing certain to result in criminal conviction is not the test – should the media have declined to run the story of John Delaney’s rent payments, for example?

        If the media cannot expose covert anti-social activities unless they get an invitation to observe them, this would result in ludicrous restrictions on reporting. Perhaps the college authorities are the ones who should have gotten a heads up, but for all the informant knew, the person in college they notified may have been a “Knight” themselves.

        In any event, the NUJ and the International Federation of Journalists support the UT, and I figure they know a thing or two about this stuff.

        Trinity News should close the comment section under their Editorial if their response to people posting the IFJ release is to spike the post. (I, uh, may have also mentioned that there should be a referendum on reclassifying TN as a comic)

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