Correction: A previous version of this article was entitled ‘UCD Auditors refusing to back down on misleading Ennis claims’ which in and of itself was misleading, as the article expressed that some clarifications were made, while the sentiment of the original claims remained. The original title suggested that no clarifications were made, where in fact UCD World Aid did clarify Juli Ennis’ position within Sodexo, while simultaneously suggesting that their no employees of Sodexo should be considered as part of a Women in Leadership conference. The title has since been amended, with all other facts of the article remaining as originally published.
On Tuesday February 23rd, The College Tribune reported that multiple societies across the campus were calling for Julie Ennis’ invitation to speak at the Arthur Cox UCD ‘Women in Leadership’ conference to be revoked. This is due to her being a CEO at Sodexo, a company frequently in the news due to the abuse and neglect of inmates within the five prison institutions it manages across the UK. Since then it has been revealed that Ennis is in fact the CEO of Sodexo Corporate, a separate entity to Sodexo Justice, both under the parent company’s name.
The actual head of Sodexo Justice is Janine McDowell. While Sodexo Corporate has weathered its own fair share of negative reports surrounding worker’s rights issues in the company, the two branches are unrelated. As a result, the reasoning behind some societies’ decision to protest at her involvement is misinformed. Since Ennis took the position as CEO of corporate services in March 2020, there have been multiple initiatives to improve working conditions and resolve complaints.
An anonymous leak has informed the Tribune that auditors of several societies in the university have decided to refuse to correct some of the details they put out on their respective social media platforms yesterday. Further, C&E Officer from the Students Union Leighton Gray said they “spoke to various society auditors to discuss the issue” of Ennis’ presence at the event on Tuesday 23rd of February.
While some societies have taken down their previous posts, UCD ‘Worldaid’ who have spearheaded the opposition, corrected what side of the company Ennis heads. However, they have continued to tie the aforementioned prison scandals to her, which is misleading to the students who view their pages.
Meanwhile more societies have joined in denouncing UCD’s decision to continue to allow Julie Ennis to speak, stating that the issue is now with Sodexo as a whole. LGBTQ+ Society addressed the issue on Instagram. They stated “She (Julie Ennis) is a Sodexo executive, but not with their justice services, and for that we stand corrected.”However, the society maintains that no “Representative of Sodexo, in any capacity, should be considered a suitable speaker for a “women in leadership” event.”
A previous version of this article suggested that the University College Dublin Students’ Union (UCDSU) was a part of the societies’ call to revoke Julie Ennis‘ invitation to the Arthur Cox UCD ‘Women in Leadership’ conference. This information was proven to be incorrect and the SU has since been removed from this article.
Lucy Mackarel, Reporter