Dr Jeremy Morris is currently a University Councillor and Master at Trinity HallWikipedia Commons

Content note: This article contains detailed discussion of sexual assault and harassment.

CUSU has called on Trinity Hall Master Dr Jeremy Morris to resign, calling his position “untenable”, following allegations he mishandled a sexual assault allegation levelled at the Senior Tutor Dr William O’Reilly in 2018.

In a statement on their Facebook page, CUSU said they “unreservedly condemn the actions of Trinity Hall and its leadership”, which they argue “have demonstrated an institutional disregard for survivors of sexual misconduct and a complete inability to safeguard students and staff.”

On Monday, an investigation by Tortoise Media implicated Morris as one of several senior Trinity Hall figures involved in mishandling, or accused of sexual misconduct towards students at the college over a period of 13 years.

The investigation alleged that in May 2018, Morris heard an allegation about a student who had been sexually assaulted by O’Reilly, and did not investigate nor take any ‘preventative’ action against the Senior Tutor - and allowed him to remain in his role for five months.

Since yesterday morning, Morris’s Twitter account has also been deleted.

“By allowing the then-Acting Senior Tutor to remain in post, despite knowing that an allegation of sexual misconduct had been made against him, Jeremy Morris has demonstrated a total disregard for his duty of care to the students of Trinity Hall,” argue CUSU in their statement.

In full: Trinity Hall's comment on the Tortoise investigation

“We understand that any allegations of this kind at our College will be a matter of deep concern to everyone in our community, and we take them extremely seriously.

There is no place for misconduct or inappropriate behaviour of any kind at Trinity Hall, and we are highly aware how important it is to deal with any issues which may arise in a clear and appropriate manner. The safety and welfare of students and staff at the College is a priority for us, and a natural expectation of anyone who comes to study and work here.

As part of living up to these requirements – alongside the University of Cambridge and its ‘Breaking The Silence’ campaign – we are committed to a zero tolerance policy, providing the support and protection all our College members need in order to go about their daily work. Our students, staff and alumni need not only to be informed about our complaints policies, and where to seek help at difficult times, but also to trust the College’s procedures to handle any complaints fairly and correctly.

In doing so, we recognise that speaking up and reporting concerns must be extremely difficult and may have a significant emotional impact on individuals. We will do everything we can to ensure people raising such issues feel safe and supported. The College has its own mental health team, and significant pastoral and tutorial support, in addition to the provision made by the University of Cambridge for all its students and staff.

The College will always seek to address any complaints it receives and to determine the most appropriate procedure under which to consider them, in conjunction, importantly, with the complainant’s own wishes. We have substantially revised our processes in the last two years, in the light both of experience and of changing sector guidance on the handling of complaints of harassment and misconduct. In addition to the College’s own procedures, this may include referring the matter to the University of Cambridge’s Office of Student Conduct, Complaints and Appeals (OSCCA). It should be recognised that, in line with sector guidance, any criminal process must take priority.

For reasons of duty of care and confidentiality, we are unable to comment specifically about individual cases, even in a number of circumstances where the information is incorrect, misleading or requires a fuller detailed explanation. Nonetheless, we understand that any complaints, which are often highly sensitive and complex, require the highest possible standards in terms of explaining the processes and potential outcomes, in addition to clear and consistent communications with all concerned, and alongside providing pastoral or other appropriate support. Like many other Higher Education institutions which are facing similar issues, we are therefore obliged to ensure that we are constantly reviewing our processes in the light of our experience.

We are aware that many of our students, staff and alumni have expressed important views on these topics in recent times, for which we are grateful, and hope that they will continue to engage with us in the future. We in turn are committed to listening and learning from previous instances of dealing with often challenging matters in the most rigorous manner possible."

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CUSU further stresses Morris should “step down from his position as a University Councillor” as well as Master, since continuing in either role “would be an insult to students at Trinity Hall and completely undermine the University’s commitment to tackling sexual misconduct.”

The statement also claims “these cases highlight a deeper problem with the collegiate University’s approach to allegations of sexual misconduct”.


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A spokesperson for O’Reilly said: “He rejects any suggestion that he behaved improperly and is appalled that what should have been confidential procedures have been made public.

“He strenuously denies the serious allegation made against him”.

O’Reilly claims he withdrew from supervising students when he was made aware of the allegations against him and only resumed teaching when the police decided that no further action would be taken.

However, Tortoise say they have seen evidence suggesting he supervised several undergraduate students during this period. O’Reilly continues to dispute this.

CUSU urges colleges to “commit to automatically referring cases of sexual misconduct to OSCCA” and then “uphold [its] recommendations.”

The OSCCA is the University’s Office of Student Conduct, Complaints and Appeals, and is currently one of the two bodies empowered to handle students complaints. The other is colleges, which CUSU suggests should longer be allowed to oversee cases of sexual misconduct entirely by themselves.

CUSU emphasises “it is time for colleges to cease dealing with cases of sexual misconduct internally.”

If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, the following organisations provide support and resources:

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