Closed: Petition calling for VC McMahon’s resignation

April McMahon

THE STUDENT-led petition which called for the resignation of Vice-Chancellor April McMahon, and had gained 532 signatories in 6 days, has been closed.

Keiron O’Shea, the second year Computer Science student who started the petition, demanded a meeting with VC McMahon and senior staff members of Aberystwyth University which he said reassured his concerns regarding the institution.

Speaking to Aber Student Media, Keiron was adamant that he pulled the petition because all of his questions were ‘answered adequately with positive-forward looking responses’, and not due to requests or demands from the University itself.

He said that regardless whether or not ‘impassioned supporters’ believe that he has been ‘brainwashed’ or ‘silenced’, he wanted to make it clear that this decision was his and his alone, and that the meeting happened because he ‘forced it to happen’. He stated, “The decision to close the petition was a very personal one, made on personal beliefs and morals – it wasn’t a nice decision to make, but it was one that I felt I needed to make.”


O’Shea told ASM that he walked into the Visualisation Centre yesterday (Tues 8th) to speak with VC McMahon and that upon rejection, attempted to walk into the office and demand a meeting. He said that following successful discussions with Alwena Hughes-Moakes, PVC John Grattan and Rhodri Llwyd Morgan, he was given the chance to argue his points directly to McMahon and that they then discussed the strategic plans for the University and what the management team hope to achieve in the forthcoming 3 years. In regards to the concerns over staff discrepancies, O’Shea said that it was agreed that mistakes has been made, and that apologies to certain members of staff in regards to part issues are in the pipelines.

A press release is due to be issued by the University tomorrow (Thurs 10th) which will outline ‘the positive aspects of Aberystwyth University’, which O’Shea says will hopefully help improve the institution’s reputation in some way. He continued to say that although he is ‘not going to believe them blindly’, the arguments of the senior members were strong and they gave him clear and concise responses. He said, “Although apprehensive, I am pretty sure that the University is in good hands. The management seem passionate to make changes, and as long as the right changes are made – then we should be alright.”


O’Shea said that he would like the signatories of the closed petition to remain hopeful, and not resentful. He said that he is in discussions today (Wed 9th) regarding the future ownership of the petition, however that he will not allow someone to take it over in order to fulfil their own agendas.

He said, “The 500 supporters signed that petition on the premises I wrote in it, it would be wrong and despicable if they were to be forced to support something they didn’t believe in. I will not bow down to ultimatums, we live in a free, democratic society. If you want to create a petition, then you can. Nobody is stopping you. I put everything on the line to create this discussion, and although perhaps reckless, I believe I did it for the right reasons and got a right outcome as a result.”

O’Shea sent out an email to his 500+ supporters this morning, outlining the reasons for the petitions closure. The email is as follows:

Dear Supporters,

I managed to get an unorganised meeting with Dr Rhodri Llwyd Morgan, Professor John Grattan, Alwena Hughes Moakes and Professor April MacMahon in regards to the petition.

After discussing both the future of the University and the future of the staff I am fully confident that the University is now in the right hands.

We all agreed that more must be done to ensure that April must become more transparent in her role as Vice Chancellor, and that the University must begin promoting itself in a higher light as to improve the institutes reputation.

I was promised that on Thursday a press release will be published, outline all of the ‘good things’ currently happening at the University.

Personally I would like to thank all members of the meeting for their time and co-operation.

A personal thank you to all supporters that allowed this discussion to happen, without you I wouldn’t of been able to put forward our beliefs and concerns. I cannot guarantee that all plans outlined in the meeting come to fruition, but trust me when I say if they fail to, I will be out to make people personally accountable.

Thank you for all of your support, you have restored my faith in humanity and due-course.

Keiron O’Shea