Master of Trinity Hall College, Cambridge resigns following mishandling of sexual abuse cases

This is the latest development in what has been described as the “Trinity Hall Scandals”

CN: references to sexual assault

The master of Trinity Hall College Cambridge, Revd Canon Dr Jeremy Morris, has resigned following accusations brought against his mishandling of a sexual abuse case. His resignation was announced today (31/08) in a press release from Trinity Hall College.

In February 2020, a Tortoise article was published revealing accusations against various members of Trinity Hall for sexual misconduct of professors and a student. Written by reporters Chris Cook and Ella Hill, it also revealed the systematic procedural failures of the collegiate body in the handling of these complaints.

An independent, external inquiry into the Colleges handling of the allegations raised recommended that the college consider initiating disciplinary action against the Master in relation to his handling of one allegation made against a third party. Lead by barrister Gemma White QC, the full report is yet to be released, however updates about the status of the report are available here.

The college stated in their press release announcing the master’s resignation that they are determined “that there is a prima facie case for disciplinary action.”

The Master has disputed this recommendation, noting in particular the inquiry’s recognition that a number of contributors had praised his personal support for those who have raised issues of sexual abuse in specific situations.

The release also reports that he considers that it is in the best interests of the College for him to offer his resignation, given the difficulties of the last 18 months.

This announcement of resignation of the master is the latest update in the events in what has been described as the “Trinity Hall Scandals.

Following the publication of the article in February 2020, Revd Canon Dr Morris  “temporarily stepped down from his duties” to  awaiting the outcome of the inquiry.

In the same month, an open letter with over 140 signatures was written by students demanding more procedural transparency, thorough external investigations, and a better support system for victims of sexual harassment.

The College responded to the latter demand by implementing a group session offered by the University’s Sexual Assault and Harassment Adviser for those affected by the media coverage. In addition, students were also offered a maximum of four private counselling sessions funded by the College.

Acting Vice-Master Dr Nick Bampos resigned in March 2020, who was consequently replaced by Dr Daniel Tyler.

In April 2020, it was announced that an independent inquiry would begin under the leadership of barrister Gemma White QC.

In May 2021 the college released an update on the report which revealed that the Inquiry report contains recommendations for the establishment of a Sexual Misconduct Working Group which includes students and former student representatives.

You can read the latest report updates here

Feature image credits: Rosie Smart-Knight