FORMER JAMES College Treasurer, Ethan Conner, resigned last month following a drunken incident at a JCR Committee Meeting in which he exposed his genitalia to fellow members.
Conner, pictured opposite, had become intoxicated over lunch following what he described as a “bad morning”.
He says he was later joined in his room for a drink by the James JCRC Vice President, who subsequently escorted him to the Committee Meeting.
The former Treasurer recounts that after arriving, he disrupted the meeting throughout in what he describes as “fairly childish ways”.
“I think I was throwing things. I was licking someone a lot – one of the girls who does P and P. I also cut my hair, and I exposed myself. I was just generally being an obnoxious fool.”
When asked why he had exposed himself, Conner said “it was really embarrassing. It wasn’t meant for everyone”, claiming that he had merely intended to indicate to the Vice President that he needed to use the lavatory, but that his intoxicated state had prevented greater discretion.
Members of the JCRC were particularly distressed by a proposition of Conner’s at the same meeting to show what has been described as “homophobic material” at a James video night.
In an interview following his resignation, the former Treasurer explained that his suggestion to air the opinions of what he referred to as “ridiculous Christian fundamental crazy people” was in order to provide an alternative perspective to the gay rights videos scheduled to be shown on the same night.
Conner claims that he had been considering issues concerning freedom of speech at the time, having recently read John Stuart Mill’s ‘On Liberty’.
He added that his proposal was intended to “generate debate and argument”, because “York can be intellectually sterile”. The motion was almost unanimously defeated by other JCR members.
When recounting the event, the ex-treasurer said “I just think it’s sad that people won’t challenge themselves”, but acknowledged that it was inappropriate to have proposed the video whilst under the influence of alcohol.
The ex-Treasurer was supposed to have submitted the James College budget to the Students’ Union on the same day, but had failed to do so because he had sent it to the wrong email address on account of having been inebriated.
Anne-Marie Canning, the Chair or James JCRC, claimed that Conner had “felt he should resign” following the episode in the meeting. However, the ex-treasurer claims that he initially thought he could remedy the situation with an apology, as “it was a silly mistake, but no damage was done” and “Dan [one of the SU Treasurers] was fine with the budget”.
However, Conner decided to resign after hearing rumours that a vote of no confidence was to be proposed against him at the next JCR meeting.
He has since said “I regret [exposing myself] in the sense that it’s a childish thing to do in any context, but I do think they over-reacted. I do regret resigning, because I think I could have resisted the vote of no confidence.”
He claimed that “everyone agrees that James college is frankly rubbish”, and that had he maintained his position as Treasurer he might have been able to make a positive difference to the college and its events, commenting “we had some incredible ideas”.