Cornelius’ fan club hits back against “irresponsible” reporting of presidential candidate

An open letter from Trinity students defends him against allegations of poor leadership.

17 Trinity students have sent an open letter to The Tab and Varsity, claiming that the reporting on Cornelius Roemer’s tenure as TCSU President is all “gossip and unsubstantiated accusations”.

The letter was coordinated by No. 10 Tab BNOC Hesham Mashhour, founder of Blue Specs.

The move is in response to leaked documents which expose complaints about Cornelius’ behaviour as TCSU President. The documents, collated from 15 different committee members, critique his leadership as “idiotic”, “misogynistic”, and “confrontational”.

The letter refutes these claims, and the 17 students insist that his confrontational approach is the reason he got things done as President.

“His priority has always been the student interest, rather than befriending and pleasing his committee or senior college officials.”

#feelthecorn

#feelthecorn

It goes on to cite  his work with the City Council on streetlights, campaigning on the size of the college’s beds, and lowering the cost of vacation storage as some of his achievements as President.

The committee also critiques the alleged sexism.

“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.”

Smile for the camera

Smile for the camera.

Further, the letter deflects all the blame being put on Cornelius: “We feel that it is unfair and arbitrary to blame one individual for the entire committee’s internal problems.”

The letter still admits that Cornelius is a “controversial” figure in the college, but is unconvinced that the accusations against Cornelius are reflective of the wider student body in Trinity.

“Although we sincerely regret that several TCSU committee members felt antagonised by Cornelius, Trinity’s students are generally thankful for Cornelius’ dedication and achievements as TCSU President.”

It holds that Cornelius is “vocal and determined in his beliefs”, and that “Trinity’s students are generally thankful for Cornelius’ dedication and achievements as TCSU President.”

Voting for the CUSU elections is now open.


The full letter is as follows: 

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, Filip Murar, Ania Olech, Glen Pearce, James Robbs, Bianca Schor, Elisa Shephard, James Taylor, Sayana Turpin-Aviram, Ryan Wilson

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