By Grahame Anderson
Durham University has expelled a student for making offensive racist comments on social media. Another has also been thrown out for breaching the establishments sexual misconduct policy. None can be named for legal reasons though Asian Sunday has discovered the racist incident involved a second year male student at St. Aiden’s College.
Both cases were given a hearing by the university’s Senate Discipline Committee as a new strategy was launched regarding publicising such investigations.
In relation to the racist incident it’s emerged a video was involved, seen thousands of times on social media not long after the George Floyd controversy hit the headlines and made more than two years ago.
One former student expressed their disgust on a social media post saying: “I had an incredible time during my three years at Durham. However, I am 100 per cent aware this was not the same experience lived by a large number of BAME students, who were routinely subject to systematic racism.”
She went on to say: “This student needs to be expelled!!!”
At the same time Durham University tweeted: “A video has been reported to us which we are investigating as a matter of urgency.
“We are horrified by the contents of the video and condemn them in the strongest possible terms.
“The views expressed are quite simply unacceptable and have no place at Durham.”
A Printed Apology
Asian Sunday has learned the male student in question made an apology through The Tab, one of Durham University’s student newspapers citing the video was made two and half years ago when he was still at school.
He went on to tell the publication “I deeply regret and condemn the things said in the video as they do not and have never reflected my beliefs.
“The matter was investigated by the police and dealt with by the appropriate authorities at the time.“
“I have matured since then and understand the consequences words can have on others. I sincerely apologise for the hurt it has caused and I hope that the Durham community can accept me for who I am now, rather than the person in the video.”
Mirabelle Otuoze from London and studying Russian and French has been at the university since September. She recently told the BBC she had suffered racial slurs and felt “unwelcome as a student of colour”, claims she said were shared by other black students.
Message From Vice-Chancellor
In a message to all students and staff, Professor Stuart Corbridge, Vice-Chancellor at the university said: “We are committed to creating an environment that is respectful and inclusive.
“The vast majority of us embrace this goal already and go about our lives, work and study in a way that honours our values and makes us all proud to be part of Durham University. However, where behaviour falls below the standards we would expect, we will take swift and decisive action.
“This is not new: we have clear disciplinary policies in place and do not hesitate to act upon them. We are well aware, however, that there is a desire within our community for more to be shared concerning the outcomes of these procedures. We understand this: to have faith in a justice system, it is important to see that justice is being done.”
Professor Corbridge also confirmed this exclusive university will be more transparent in its disciplinary procedures, including publishing the outcome of the student non-academic disciplinary process online annually.
Last month a potential student had his university offer withdrawn following an offensive online discussion, which included mention of a competition to sleep with the poorest student.
In a statement published on their website, the University said: “We recognise that sexual misconduct and violence are matters of international concern and through our Sexual Misconduct and Violence Operations Group, we are working to make Durham a safer place to live, work and study.