Trinity society Knights of the Campanile release statement in response to 'hazing' allegations 1 month ago

Trinity society Knights of the Campanile release statement in response to 'hazing' allegations

The statement is in response to an article published in the University Times last month.

The Knights of the Campanile, an invite-only, all-male society in Trinity College, has released a statement following allegations of 'hazing' by a student newspaper.

In the statement, Master of The Knights of the Campanile Peter Ledbetter said: "It has been alleged that ‘hazing’ - a term denoting bullying and/or humiliation at initiation ceremonies - occurred at a private party, given in his private rooms, hosted by the Knights’ President to welcome new Knights in College.

"I am assured by the President that bullying and/or humiliation played no part in the evening’s proceedings. That the University Times also reports the Knights to be a “secret society”, when we are anything but, further suggests these articles are not to be taken too seriously."

The Knights of the Campanile was founded in 1926 to “further the sporting activities of Trinity College Dublin” and “promote the better entertainment and hospitality accorded to visiting teams”.

Membership of the society is for life and there are over 1,200 members worldwide, although a maximum of 50 'student knights' are permitted at any one time.

In the statement, the Knights of the Campanile said that descriptions of the society as "elitist" are true, "but not in the pejorative sense implied".

"The Knights have also been described as elitist. This is true but not in the pejorative sense implied," the statement read.

"Knights are an elite in the same sense that scholars can be described as an elite. Both are appellations earned through excellence. As ever, the criteria for election to the Knights remain: active high-level involvement in sport in College; participation in administration in the College Club promoting a specific sport; social skills to welcome sporting visitors to College."

The statement was issued in response to an article in the University Times detailing an initiation ceremony for members of the society; the University Times subsequently admitted that a recording device was placed outside the apartment of the society’s president on the evening in question.

The Knights of the Campanile said that this behaviour involved "trespass, invasion of privacy and bugging".

"Such behaviour has disturbing implications for the privacy rights of all students in College and the University Times’ behaviour is currently the subject of investigation by the Junior Dean," the society said in the statement.

The University Times alleges that on 27 February, the Knights of Campanile held an initiation ceremony on campus which started in the main square, moving on to the apartment of the society’s president.

In a statement, the University Times said that reporters "decided to enter the building in order to fully investigate matters that this newspaper felt – and continues to feel – are in the public interest".

The paper further stated: "As part of the reporting, the reporters placed a recording device outside the open door and remained in the immediate vicinity of the device while it recorded sounds that were also clearly audible to them.

"This decision was taken because of the extraordinary and very specific circumstances of the situation, and in the context of audible hazing and the powerful, secretive nature of the society in question."

Since the publication of the article, more than 500 Trinity College students have signed a petition to significantly reduce the financial support given to the newspaper by Trinity’s student union, triggering a campus referendum that will take place on April 10 and 11.

Knight's of the Campanile's Peter Ledbetter said he has been "assured that the petition was not, contrary to what some have suggested, instigated by the Knights in College".

Last month, Trinity College confirmed that an investigation was being conducted by the Junior Dean into the University Times and that a separate investigation was also being conducted into the alleged hazing incident reported by the University Times.

The college said at the time that they take such matters "very seriously" and "absolutely condemn such practices".

Speaking to JOE on Tuesday, the college said they had nothing further to add at this point.