Harris condemns ‘entirely inappropriate’ Zoom comments by GMIT lecturers

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Harris Condemns ‘Entirely Inappropriate’ Zoom Comments By Gmit Lecturers
Two lecturers made the comments over Zoom and were not aware that some students could hear them. Photo: PA Media.
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By Digital Desk Staff

The Minister for Higher Education has described comments made by two Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) lecturers as "extremely hurtful" and “entirely inappropriate”.

The two lecturers made the comments over Zoom and were not aware that some students could hear them, as they allocated marks after an online presentation remained live.

The governing body of the college has launched an international investigation after the lecturers voiced various insults. Minister Simon Harris said he welcomed the college’s apology.

“I welcome the fact that the president of GMIT has apologised on behalf of the institution, and I understand the governing authority is investigating the matter there and I probably shouldn’t say anything that would in any way prejudice that outcome,” he said.

“But look it was an extremely hurtful comment... entirely inappropriate and absolutely shouldn’t have happened.”

'Drilling teeth'

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The GMIT lecturers were heard discussing the so-called "weak performance" of some of their students and speculating if one had intellectual disabilities.

One of the lecturers referred to a student as “that f**king [student's name]” and speculated there was “something wrong with” a female student.

The other lecturer said she felt like “drilling [her] teeth” because one of the students was “so painful to be listening to”.

A recording of the conversation, which is understood to have taken place last week, has been shared extensively on messaging applications such as Snapchat and WhatsApp.

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Dr Orla Flynn, president of GMIT, said apologies would be issued directly to the students concerned.

“I would like to wholeheartedly apologise to our students for the data breach that has caused such deep hurt and dismay,” she said.

“GMIT is known as a student-centred institute and some of the comments made by our staff do not reflect the values to which we aspire.

“We are taking the breaches of GMIT policies and data protection legislation very seriously. Apologies will be issued to the students directly concerned.”

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