Durham University has announced that two students have been expelled for committing a “serious breach” of the University’s Sexual Misconduct and Violence Policy and for making racist remarks on social media respectively.
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.
“We have in many instances led the UK higher education sector in tackling sexual misconduct and violence. In 2016, we were the first University to appoint a full-time, dedicated Student Support and Training Officer (Sexual Violence and Misconduct).”
The University also revealed that it is recruiting “two full time professional investigators” to investigate cases of sexual misconduct and violence.
In response to its decision to expel one student for making racist remarks on social media, the University said it condemns racism and hate crime “in the strongest possible terms” and that racism has no place at the University.
“Having signed the Race Equality Charter in 2019, we are working to understand any institutional or cultural barriers that may stand in the way of BAME staff and students, and to improve representation, progression and success of BAME staff and students within our University community.
“We have introduced an online Report and Support tool through which staff and students can report unwanted behaviour and seek support. And we are working to implement the recommendations of the Durham Commission on Respect, Values and Behaviour.“
The cases of both students were considered by the University’s Senate Discipline Committee.
In a message to all students and staff, Professor Stuart Corbridge, Vice-Chancellor, 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 commented on the steps the University has taken to be more transparent in its disciplinary procedures, including publishing the outcome of the student non-academic disciplinary process online annually.
The Vice-Chancellor also stated that the University has committed to “publishing serious case outcomes as they are concluded” on the Notices page of the University’s website, and that students will be notified of these updates via Dialogue Signposts.
Image: Mackem Magic via Flickr