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Durham University


Social media comments investigation

Published Wednesday 23 September, 2020.

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.

“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due to begin studying at Durham University next month has, in accordance with the terms of their offer, had their offer withdrawn.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.”