Katie Ascough has addressed UCD students in an open letter. In a post written on the Fight4Katie Facebook page, Ms Ascough has defended her actions over the Winging It reprint scandal and has outlined her reasons as to why she believes she shouldn’t be impeached.
She began by stating that ‘On March 9th, 2017, after a long and exciting campaign, I was honoured to be elected President of UCD Students’ Union. It is no secret that I am pro-life and many students are not. Since the day I was elected, before I’d been put in office, some students were already calling for my impeachment.’
The statement then goes on to say that she left it to the Campaigns & Commincations Officer Barry Murphy to sign off on the original handbook saying that Ms Ascough was aware that there was information in the handbook regarding abortion but that she wasn’t aware it was illegal. The statement also says that Ms Ascough wanted the new handbook to be released online and that it was the other sabbatical officers who wished for the handbook to be reprinted at a cost of €7,000.
The letter goes on ‘While it is unfortunate that the handbook has received much one-sided, negative press, UCDSU has achieved many things in the last few months. So far as UCDSU President, I have worked hard in tackling the student accommodation issue and the cost of college. We have also hosted successful events like Fresh Fest and Freshers’ Ball, and it was a privilege to help present the President’s Welcomes to first year students.’ Ms Ascough also highlighted that microwaves will be brought on campus soon and states ‘I have five microwaves sitting in my office and phase one of the microwave plan is to have them in Science, Newman, under the Library, and in the Old Student Centre.’
In regards to the impeachment campaign against her Ms Ascough states that the campaign is ‘without legitimate cause’ and claims that a group of students are using ‘bullying tactics to try and discard a democratically elected UCDSU President’, adding ‘Some members of the Impeach UCDSU President campaign posted pro-impeachment tweets and Facebook posts on the day of my election back in March, before I had the chance to make even one presidential action or decision.’
This letter marks the first comments in weeks from Ms Ascough who has refused to comment on matters regarding the decision to remove the pages from Winging It. As a result of the impeachment referendum, Ms Ascough is currently on leave with C+C Officer Barry Murphy acting as President for the time being. The impeachment referendum will take place on October 25th and 26th.
A full copy of the letter can be found here.
Rachel O’Neill – Editor