Warwick university students to protest over rape chat decision

Building at University of WarwickImage source, Getty Images

Students at University of Warwick are to protest against a ban being lifted on two students involved in an online group chat that threatened rape.

The men were barred from the campus for 10 years, but this was reduced to 12 months after they appealed. They have since said they will not return.

A demonstration over the university's handling of the investigation is due to take place on Wednesday.

The university said it was committed to ensuring student safety.

Several of those involved in the Facebook group chat messages last summer encouraged others to rape specific students.

After a disciplinary inquiry by the university, two students were banned for 10 years, two excluded for one year and one was given a lifetime campus ban.

But victims accused the university of not doing enough to protect women there.

Image source, Jessica Hughes
Image caption,
Warwick students marched in January in protest at sexual violence

The Reclaim Our University protest will call for a life-long ban for the men involved and an inquiry over how the university dealt with the complaints.

One of the organisers, student James Holland, said: "The two men are not returning, but I think that is through their own choice rather than the university's disciplinary process.

"We want them to review it, so it cannot happen again."

Ellen Butler, 21, an English student planning to attend, said: "I'm personally quite angry about it - that the university would allow such people back on campus.

"And I know some people who had issues with sexual harassment and assault in the past, and they are very scared.

"Scared that something like that could happen to them and university would not protect them as they should do."

Image source, The Boar
Image caption,
Student newspapers obtained the screenshots after complaints were made to the university

The students are set to protest outside University House at 12:30 GMT.

Elliot Mulligan, co-editor of student newspaper The Boar which first reported the messages, predicted it would be "the biggest protest at the university in recent memory".

The university declined to comment specifically on the protest, but referred to an earlier statement by vice-chancellor Prof Stuart Croft which said: "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."

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