DCUSU pull no punches on Mike Tyson’s talk in the Helix

Dave Kelly and Cáit Caden

A talk given by Mike Tyson, a convicted rapist , in the Helixwas met with hostility from both the DCU Students' Union and other students on campus. The former heavyweight champion was on the rounds discussing his life and what got him into boxing. Image Credit: USA today.

Mike Tyson’s recent event in the Helix was condemned by DCU Students’ Union as they were ‘concerned’ with having a convicted rapist in a building situated on campus. 

‘An Evening with Mike Tyson’ took place in the Helix on November 2nd. DCU stated it it had no affiliation with the Helix, which is a commercial body.

“At the end of the day and no matter who the individual in question is, I don’t think that it’s good enough to be invited onto a university campus by a commercial body, but regardless, it’s supposed to be a space where students are comfortable,” DCUSU President Vito Maloney Burke told the Irish Independent.

Tyson was convicted of raping an 18-year-old, Desiree Washington, in 1992. He served three years of his six-year sentence. The event consisted of Tyson talking about his early life and how he got into boxing.

In a statement about the event that was released on Twitter,  DCUSU said they “take our students’ safety and wellbeing extremely seriously and are concerned for those whom this visit might affect.”

“It is utterly disappointing and disrespectful that the Helix would host Mike Tyson, a convicted rapist, on DCU campus. Irrespective of whether you’re a commercial or academic entity, it is spectacularly tone deaf to invite a
convicted rapist onto a student campus. The Helix is sending a message that they care more for profit than the comfort and safety of the students with whom they share their home,” said Amy Ní Cholgáin, Chairperson of DCU’s
Feminist Society.

The Helix described the event as “unmissable”, claiming that Tyson has one of the most interesting life stories you could hear. However, the venue’s marketing manager, Louise Phelan, told the Irish Independent that the event was purely organised by a third-party.

“The vast majority of speakers acts and performances that take place here, that would include the Mike Tyson event, they’re engaged and booked by third-party promoters, we would never have invited him to come to campus,” said Phelan.

Controversial MMA fighter Conor McGregor was also in attendance at the sold out event in the Helix’s Mahony Hall where Tyson spoke about his life and career as well as signed professional photographs with those who paid extra.

A second date for the billed event ‘An Evening with Mike Tyson’ was proposed, however, this was shelved according to The Sunday Business Post, after representatives from DCU expressed their unhappiness with Tyson’s presence on campus.

Phelan refused to comment whether The Helix had the ability to refuse hosting the event. DCU’s Athletic Boxing Club refused to comment on the event.

David Kelly

Image Credit: USA today