BREAKING: Rape chat scandal University of Warwick students 'won't return' - The Leamington Observer

BREAKING: Rape chat scandal University of Warwick students 'won't return'

Felix Nobes 4th Feb, 2019 Updated: 5th Feb, 2019   0

UNIVERSITY of Warwick chiefs appear to have responded to increasing pressure and say there will be no return for students suspended over ‘racist and mysognistic’ group chat messages including comments about rape.

As our sister title the Coventry Observer reports, at 5pm today the university’s website quoted its vice-chancellor Stuart Croft with an ‘update’ which reads: “We are committed to ensuring the safety of our community.

“I have today spoken to the two young men concerned and confirm that neither of them will be returning to the University.

“I am continuing to listen to the views of students, staff and all members of our community here at Warwick and support them so that we can learn from this experience.”

Pressure had been mounting, including from Labour MP for Warwick and Leamington, Matt Western, who today called on university chiefs to rescind a previous decision as a matter of urgency.

The furore followed a university decision after an appeal to reduce a suspension for two students from 10 years to one year.

A petition, now with over 65,000 signatures, was also launched by a student in opposition to allowing the perpetrators back to resume their studies.

The petition to Mr Croft says the university should ‘say no to violence on campus’.

Earlier today, the students union also appealed to university leadership to stage a meeting to resolve the dispute.

The two students were banned for 10 years after messages were sent on a private chat about rape, sexual violence and underage girls – some including horrific racial insults.

Two other students were banned for one year, while another was expelled.

After the appeal, the two students with 10 year bans had been informed they could return in September this year, after ‘new evidence’ was produced.

That would have meant they would be brushing shoulders with some of those they made the comments about.

University chiefs have been slammed for their response to the controversy by their own students and one college department – who have been demonstrating for the decision to be overturned.

Mr Croft issued a statement on Friday on the university’s website branding the comments ‘dehumanising, humiliating, and revolting,’ but refused to ban the 11 students in the group chat.

The #ShameOnYouWarwick Twitter campaign – with the issue in the national spotlight – was also increasing the pressure.

The tweets were first revealed by the university newspaper, The Boar. The messages include remarks such as: “It’s sometimes fun to just go wild and rape 100 girls.”

“I’d record my girl getting raped.”

In response to a girl who had posted about being a victim of sexual assault, one wrote: “She’s simply not attractive enough for all those things to happen to her.”

Another writes: “I love Hitler. I hate n***** and Jews and Corbyn. Crusade for racism? I hate c**ns.”

The group’s name was changed to ‘F*** women. Disrespect them all.’

A raft of students have come forward saying they feel ashamed of the university and that a strong enough message against comments of this kind is yet to be issued.

Others, including those who were talked about by the 11 group chat members, say they fear for their safety – with a toxically masculine ‘rape culture’ being legitimised on campus.

Mr Western wrote in a letter: “Can I urge the university to not just reconsider its decision but to rescind it as a matter of urgency.

“It must recognise that paramount is the physical safety and mental health of the victims.”

Warwick University student Lucy Mooring said on her petition: “As a Warwick student, I am outraged and upset that my safety on campus is being disregarded for the future of privileged students.

“It is never acceptable to threaten to rape and mutilate women – these same women will be expected to be on campus with men who think that about them.”

Mr Croft said on Friday (February 1): “Those comments are against everything that everyone holds dear in any society.

“Many have seen these comments and had these emotions and intellectual responses.

“I know, because a lot of people have told me. My email inbox is full, there have been phone calls, petitions and of course, social media.”

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