In early February, UCD president Professor Andrew Deeks spoke with the Irish Independent in a wide-ranging interview where he discussed competition for places in the college, gender neutrality, and the notorious impeachment of Katie Ascough.
In the interview, Deeks told the publication that he “would have liked to have seen her (Ascough) serve out her term” and that she was “a good SU president”.
He followed this up by commenting on Ms Ascough’s alleged treatment by UCD staff. Deeks refuted such claims, stating: “I would be very disappointed if that was going on. It was clearly her perception that was going on. I have no information and nothing to make me believe that it was”
The UCD president went on to say that if such an incident was reported, it would be dealt with in accordance to the UCD Dignity and Respect Policy. He claims the college could not intervene in the student politics, which he described as: “quite brutal”.
In the wake of the interview, Katie Ascough responded to Professor Deeks’ comments. In a brief interview with the Irish Catholic, she told the publication she “still doesn’t think [Deeks] is aware of the issues Catholic students face at UCD.”
Ascough went on to tell the publication that “it is not uncommon for lecturers to scoff at and disparage the Catholic Church, sometimes with incredible bluntness.”
She further claimed that staff in UCD were less than impartial. Ascough retorted Deeks’ comments on her potential “sensitivity” to the situation in stating: “I think any student would feel wronged if they were told by a lecturer “I want you gone””.
While both Ascough and Deeks expressed a level of respect toward each other, the accusations of mistreatment to catholic students from staff raise questions on the diversity and acceptance that UCD is championed on.
Luke Murphy – Reporter