Warwick University students protest over rape chat probe

  • Published
Media caption,
Warwick University students protest over rape chat probe

Hundreds of students have protested at the University of Warwick over the way it dealt with men involved in an online group chat threatening rape.

Protestors are angry that the university reduced 10-year bans for two men who appealed to a year.

Warwick has been accused of "condoning rape culture" and faced calls for an inquiry into the investigation.

The university said an independent review of its disciplinary procedure has been launched.

Earlier this week, Warwick said the two men confirmed they will not return in September.

Image source, Jessica Hughes
Image caption,
Hundreds of protesters marched on campus

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 initially banned from campus for 10 years, two were excluded for one year and one was given a lifetime campus ban.

But the university has come under heavy criticism from students and victims.

The Reclaim Our University protest called for a life-long ban for the men involved.

In a statement on Facebook, organisers said: "The University is sending a message this behaviour is acceptable, and the rehabilitation of those who glorify sexual violence is more important than the safety and education of those they seek to attack.

"The higher education of privileged young men who would joke about endangering their fellow students is not more important than the safety and welfare of those they targeted, or that of all abuse and harassment survivors on our campus."

Ellen Butler, 21, at the protest, said: "I hoped it sent a message that we will not stand for this kind of behaviour from the university.

"They really need to look after their students and put them first before anything else."

Elliot Mulligan, co-editor of student newspaper The Boar, said: "Students feel the wrong decision was made in the first place so there is still a lot of anger about that."

Image source, Jessica Hughes
Image caption,
Protesters accused the university of "condoning rape culture"

University of Warwick's pro-chancellor David Normington called the men's behaviour "abhorrent and unacceptable" and apologised for the distress to victims of abuse.

He added: "There will be a thorough, external and independent review of our disciplinary and appeals processes.

"We will ensure that the views of our community are widely sought and the progress of this review will be communicated on a regular basis."

Image source, Jessica Hughes
Image caption,
The protest demanded a life-long ban for men involved in the rape group chats