Letter from the Department to the Vice Chancellor
I am writing as Head of English and Comparative Literary Studies to express the department’s shared dismay at the news regarding those students who were banned from Warwick for ten years for posting online rape threats to other students accompanied by anti-Semitic and racist comments and hate speech related to disability. We understand from several articles published in the media today, as well as the trending hashtag #shameonyouwarwick, that the suspended students have appealed their term of suspension, and that the University has consequently reduced the length of their bans to one year. Staff and students in my department are united in our shock and disgust at this decision. We wish to express strong and renewed support for those students harmed by these posts, abhorrence of the contents of the posts, and a deep concern about the decision to reduce the term of suspension.
We are especially appalled that this decision has been made in the context of the University’s ethics code and renewed commitment to wellbeing and respect. We suggest that the decision contravenes this commitment. We ask for urgent clarification as to why a suspension of ten years was initially thought appropriate, and why now a suspension of one year is thought sufficient. While we accept that the colleagues who made this decision may be in possession of confidential information that cannot be made public (as noted in the Provost’s online statement today), we do ask that the University openly share some of the reasons for the new decision without compromising the appeals process.