Offer withdrawn after freshers’ group chat scandal


Durham University has withdrawn an offer of a place for a male student this year after “utterly abhorrent” screenshots were posted on social media.

Two other males implicated in the screenshots will keep their offers to study at the University. Others had allegedly been posing as Durham University students in an attempt to sell tickets for “non-existent student events”.

The messages, which included concerns over being accused of rape, suggestions of using female students for sex, and approving comments about the death of George Floyd, were posted as screenshots in the Overheard at Durham Uni Facebook group.

Other screenshots seen by Palatinate used explicitly homophobic language and further discussion of rape allegations against participants. The screenshots were later reported in national newspapers and radio.  

Jeremy Cook, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience) at Durham University, said: “Recently Durham University was made aware of some utterly abhorrent comments on social media purported to have been posted by Durham students.

“As we said at the time, we condemn the content and behaviour demonstrated in these social media posts, which is entirely unacceptable and violates the values and behaviours that we uphold as a University community.

“We immediately instigated an urgent investigation by our Student Conduct Office. This was led by a member of the University community who is an experienced lawyer and supported by another who is a former police officer. A full and proper investigation was conducted.

“His behaviour [fell] short of the values we uphold”

Jeremy Cook, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience)

“As a result of this investigation, which was conducted under the University’s Admissions Policy, one male who was due to begin studying at Durham University next month has, in accordance with the terms of their offer, had their offer withdrawn. This was due to his behaviour falling short of the values we uphold, as reflected in our regulations.

“Two other males were not found to have fallen short of the values we uphold and will begin studying at Durham University next month.

“In addition, several other individuals were investigated, but were found to have no identifiable association with Durham University and are therefore not subject to University values within our regulations.

“However, our investigation also found evidence of individuals seemingly acting under pseudonyms, falsely claiming to be Durham University students and instigating social media conversations in order to fraudulently sell tickets for non-existent student events, including during Induction Week. We find this behaviour deeply concerning and have reported our concerns to the police.

“We are continuing to investigate other indirectly related comments that have been brought to our attention. If other comments of an abhorrent nature such as those we have investigated are found to be genuine and attributable, we will take further swift action to ensure that those involved have no place at Durham University.”

Image: Domstu via Wikimedia Commons

4 thoughts on “Offer withdrawn after freshers’ group chat scandal

  • Golden award for thought policing

    • It’s not a case of thought policing. Students are free to think whatever they choose, but once those thoughts are expressed, especially in a public forum, they are subject to scrutiny by the institutions to which they are affiliated. The comments reflect badly on the individual and would reflect badly on the university if he were to continue to be associated with it. Therefore the university has decided to withdraw its offer.

  • I’m glad the University has cracked down, but I wonder if they would have done had the posts been reported privately but not posted on social media. So many similar scandals over the years from the rugby team dressing as Jimmy Savile and his victims to the ‘it’s not rape if…’ game that students played. The University only intervened when the story gained news coverage.

  • Wow. Amazing. 10/10 for thought policing, Durham. This goes to show that university does not reflect the real world; rather, it reflects a socialist, leftist echo chamber in which certain thoughts are banned and punished. Ashamed to have been a student at this once fine institution. Get your fucking act together, Durham.


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