Statement from Trinity Hall

Inquiry Letter: 1 June 2020

We have this week sent the following letter from Gemma White QC to our college communities, inviting contributions to her Inquiry.

Read the Inquiry letter

Read the Privacy Notice

Read the Terms of Reference

The College acknowledges that it has taken longer than anticipated to reach this point. The particular issues encountered included the care that was needed in defining the Terms of Reference; the complex privacy issues over the exchange with Ms White QC of some potentially highly confidential information; and, of course, the challenges of adjusting working methods as a result of Covid-19. The College remains thoroughly committed to the independent Inquiry and hopes that all those with relevant contributions will contact Ms White, as she asks in the letter.

Terms of Reference: 21 May 2020

Further to our statement dated 23 April 2020, Trinity Hall is publishing the terms of reference for the Inquiry being conducted by Gemma White QC, leading barrister of Blackstone Chambers.

Read the Terms of Reference

Gemma White QC will publish communications shortly, which we expect to make available here.

Statement of 23 April 2020

Further to our statement dated 2 April 2020, we wish to update our community at Trinity Hall about the external Inquiry into the College’s handling of all the allegations raised, and matters referred to, in the Tortoise Media article of 18 February 2020, and into the complaint made by the student named ‘John’ in the article.

Gemma White QC, leading barrister of Blackstone Chambers, who has been appointed to conduct the Inquiry, has now begun the preliminary stages of her work, which include reading into the matter, considering documentation and identifying individuals she may wish to meet.

Dr William O’Reilly and The Revd Canon Dr Jeremy Morris have been granted leave of absence by the Governing Body in order to assist the College in the conduct of the Inquiry.

Notwithstanding the unprecedented turn of events brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and the latest Government restrictions, this Inquiry remains a very high priority for the College.

A further update to our community will follow in due course.

Finally, the College Mental Health and Wellbeing Team continues to provide confidential online support for any students, staff, or Fellows affected by these matters

Edited 14/05/20 regarding the possible impact of COVID-19.

Statement of 2 April 2020

As promised in our statement dated 12 March 2020, we wish to update our community at Trinity Hall about the external Inquiry into the College’s handling of all the allegations raised, and matters referred to, in the Tortoise Media article of 18 February 2020, and into the complaint made by the student named ‘John’ in the article.

Since 12 March 2020 progress has been made advancing the formal details and related legal issues of the appointment of leading barrister Gemma White QC, of Blackstone Chambers to conduct the Inquiry. Ms White QC has a broad-based legal practice which includes professional discipline, discrimination and education. She has particular experience of running complex and confidential internal investigations and conducted Parliament’s independent inquiry into bullying and harassment of MPs’ parliamentary staff, which reported in July last year.

Ms White will now begin the preliminary stages of her work, which include reading into the matter, considering documentation and identifying individuals she may wish to meet. It will be appreciated that Ms White’s progress with the Inquiry, particularly in attending meetings with individuals, will inevitably be impacted by the restrictions imposed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we can assure our community that Ms White’s work is continuing as far as it is able.

Notwithstanding the unprecedented turn of events brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, this Inquiry remains a priority for the College and we will continue to report to our community about it.

A further update to our community will follow in 21 days.