President Liam Jackson has released a statement on behalf of the Students’ Union (SU) in response to questions by The Boar relating to the involvement of the Students’ Union in the group chat appeals process. The statement was also posted on their website.
While the SU confirmed that Student Officers – representative sabbatical officers elected annually by the student body – were involved on the panel for the appeals process, they stated: “It is important to note that Student Officers do not have a majority voice on these panels, and the whole panel is bound by the collective responsibility of any decision reached – no matter how strong the voices of any individuals within that panel may be.”
“In such cases, the Officers do everything in their power to make sure that the issues are considered from a student perspective, as we did repeatedly and emphatically in this instance. While we understand the strength of feeling on the issues involved, we are concerned about the potential targeting of individual panel members, since those individuals are not in a position to defend themselves or to convey their own personal views outside of that process.”
They added that the “student perspective” is “always at the heart of Officers’ work” and that this case was no exception. Liam Jackson also noted that the SU previously fought for representation on all major disciplinary panels to “ensure that the student voice is represented as part of this important process.”
Separate to the University’s procedures, the SU has its own disciplinary processes for members, and a number of sanctions have been put in place based on each individual case
Liam Jackson, SU President
The statement also stressed that “we remain shocked by the content of the group chat, and our stance continues to be that sexism, racism and oppression of any kind have no place within our community” with a zero-tolerance approach.
The Boar had asked the SU whether when they return next year, the students would be banned from SU venues and properties or retain full SU membership. The statement clarifies: “Separate to the University’s procedures, the SU has its own disciplinary processes for members, and a number of sanctions have been put in place based on each individual case.”
The SU President also used the statement to reiterate that the Union “share reservations regarding some aspects of the handling of University disciplinary procedures and are continuing to push for a meaningful review of the process”.
Liam Jackson also stated: “The SU will continue to support the victims of these events, as we will for any student who has been affected by the surrounding issue.”
On the Students’ Union’s involvement, Lily Pickard, a final-year English student commented: “In backtracking on the initial punishments through this appeals process, the University is telling us – and especially those that were targeted in the original messages – that they prioritise the well-being of misogynists with violent ideation over the the safety of vulnerable students. Our campus should be a place we all feel comfortable, not one where women and people of colour are threatened with violence.”
The Boar will be continuing to cover this story over the coming week.