Trinity JCR and students speak out in my defence

Both the current TCSU committee and 20  independent Trinity students have spoken out against the recent smear campaign against me, headed by members of the former TCSU committee who prefer to stay anonymous. I am incredibly grateful for the support I have received within College and beyond since the allegations have surfaced.

It is most certainly unfair to call the 17 students (+3 post publication) “my fan club” as the Tab have done, I have countless supporters at Trinity, many of which haven’t signed the letter not because they don’t support it but for many good other reasons. Varsity has yet to react to the letter.

In addition to the letter, the current TCSU committee has passed a motion that condemns the “ad hominem media campaign against” me and thanks me for my “advice and work on vacation storage and issues within College”.

It is important to remember that none of the former committee members have spoken out publicly under their own names in support of the allegations. The three members quoted by Varsity preferred to have only their roles referenced. Of course, information about who filled which role is in the public domain, just not readily accessible which is why I have posted it on my blog here.

If you’d like to support the letter after it has been published, please get in touch with me via email and I’ll add you to it.

Dear Varsity & Tab Editors,

We write regarding the news pieces published in your papers on the 26th of February concerning Cornelius Roemer’s tenure as TCSU President. The news pieces were published without any formal investigation. Should the matter have been investigated, your publications would have realised that the documents leaked to Varsity do not reflect the attitudes of Trinity’s undergraduate population as a whole.

What the documents reveal is that there were significant issues of miscommunication and misunderstandings within the former TCSU committee. Indeed, it seems to rather indicate a lack of professionalism by the former committee members who leaked them. We feel that it is unfair and arbitrary to blame one individual for the entire committee’s internal problems.

We acknowledge that Cornelius Roemer is a controversial character within the College. That is because he is both vocal and determined in his beliefs. We think that while members of the committee may disagree with Cornelius’ opinions and dislike him for his character, it is unproductive and irresponsible to publicly shame him with serious accusations such as misogyny, bullying and idiocy without further evidence.

As TCSU President, Cornelius was judged by his committee as being too confrontational with senior college officials. This is, however, precisely how Cornelius managed to achieve so much for Trinity’s undergraduate students during his term as President. His priority has always been the student interest, rather than befriending and pleasing his committee or senior college officials. The year before he became President, Cornelius served as Junior Steward and worked in close collaboration with the catering department in Trinity and the former TCSU committee, achieving  a huge improvement in the quality of hall food.

Indeed he worked tirelessly to represent the interests of students through several campaigns (i) petitioning College for wider and longer beds (ii) petitioning the City Council to keep the streetlights on (iii) for vacation storage at a lower cost. The campaign to keep streetlights on was hugely successful and directly benefited women. On the 7th of January Cornelius posted on Facebook congratulating the Trinity Women’s Officer “Proud of Beth for her great work and splendid statement on streetlights! TCSU effects real change, doesn’t just talk about it.”

Allegations of misogyny stem from Cornelius’ opinion that sexual consent workshops should inform students of the legal definitions of rape, sexual assault and consent. While this is a controversial opinion, it is not a misogynistic one to emphasise how to legally prove rape or sexual assault. Indeed, it may put victims of rape or sexual assault in a much better and informed position.

Although we sincerely regret that several [former] TCSU committee members felt antagonised by Cornelius, Trinity’s students are generally thankful for Cornelius’ dedication and achievements as TCSU President. In fact, the Varsity piece points out that even the dissatisfied members of his committee recognised his hard work.

Regarding Cornelius’ campaign to become CUSU President, we believe students should be free to make their own opinions with an objective review of Cornelius’ experience, rather than gossip and unsubstantiated accusations. Those opinions are not only the opinions of those whose names are below but also a much wider body of students in the College.

Regards,

Lara Booth, Ian Cheung, Seb Cook, Hani El-Bay, Adam P. Goucher, Niklas Knecht, Mikko Mantyla, Hesham Mashhour, FilipMurar, Ania Olech, Glen Pearce, James Robbs, Bianca Schor, Elisa Shephard, James Taylor, Sayana Turpin-Aviram, Ryan Wilson

Additions post publication:
Jamie Roberts (not the Rugby player), Alexander Gebhardt, Michela Gramola

Motion passed by the current TCSU committee at its meeting on the 28th of February 2016:

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The new TCSU committee (containing two members of the old one) feel there is an ad hominem media campaign against me. Full document here.

Also, whoever claimed that the Tab’s comment section was dead is clearly wrong:

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