University of Warwick suspends 11 students over rape jokes and racist slurs on Facebook

Student union condemns 'all forms of sexism, racism, antisemitism, ableism, and threats of violence in the strongest possible terms'

Eleanor Busby
Education Correspondent
Monday 01 April 2019 17:28 BST
University of Warwick has suspended 11 students who allegedly exchanged rape jokes on Facebook
University of Warwick has suspended 11 students who allegedly exchanged rape jokes on Facebook (University of Warwick via Facebook)

A group of students who reportedly made jokes about rape and used racial slurs have been suspended by the University of Warwick after private Facebook messages came to light.

Eleven male students have been suspended after screenshots of alleged racist, antisemitic and misogynistic messages in a Facebook group chat were shared with the prestigious university.

The exchanges included shocking remarks such as “sometimes it’s fun to just go wild and rape 100 girls” and “rape the whole flat to teach them all [a] lesson.”

A member of the group gave a racist reply using the term “p**i”, while further remarks included “love Hitler, hate n****s and jews and Corbyn”.

Student newspaper The Boar reported that three formal complaints were made to the university and almost 100 screenshots of the group chat submitted as evidence.

It added that the Facebook chat – which had been called “F*** women, Disrespect them all” and had screen names of “Grenfell” and “Taxi Jew” – included senior members of societies.

Discussing racism, one user said on the chat: “Yeah racism is frowned upon at Warwick? F****** bull.” Others replied “EDL!” and ”racism is class“.

A University of Warwick Student Union (SU) spokeswoman said: “Warwick SU is aware of the ongoing university investigation into a group Facebook chat involving a number of Warwick students.

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“The SU condemns the content of these messages – together with all forms of sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, ableism, and threats of violence – in the strongest possible terms.

“The SU has been supporting the victims and will continue to do so.

“We are also proactively cooperating with the university’s ongoing investigation, and hope to see a conclusion as swiftly as possible.”

A University of Warwick spokesperson said it was “a student disciplinary matter that is currently being actively investigated. We obviously cannot comment further on that matter until those investigations, and any subsequent disciplinary processes, are concluded.”

A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said: “We are aware of the matters relating to the social media group involving a number of students and we are liaising with Warwick University.”

The incident comes after a number of reports of racist incidents at universities since the start of the year.

Just last week, a number of law students who allegedly made racist comments were expelled by the University of Exeter after private WhatsApp conversations were shared on Facebook.

Meanwhile, Sheffield Hallam University recently launched an investigation after a black student was allegedly called a monkey by staff. The incident came after a banana was reportedly thrown at a black Sheffield Hallam graduate during an ice hockey match between his alma mater and city rivals, the University of Sheffield.

Meanwhile, two teenagers will appear in court later this month after a video of alleged racist chanting in student halls went viral.

Rufaro Chisango, a Nottingham Trent University student, posted footage she recorded on social media last month – which included chants of “We hate the blacks” and “Sign the Brexit papers”.

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