Over a year ago, five boys were banned from campus after the conversations of their group chat were revealed. Their group chat labelled ”F*ck Women, Disrespect them All’, contained content involving verbally abusive language aimed at specific girls they knew. It resulted in two boys banned for ten years, one boy for one year and a life long ban for another.
Warwick University, however, overturned the decision and reduced the sentences of two boys from ten years to just one. These boys were allowed to return to campus next year, despite the victims of the group chat that would still be studying there. This comes despite the Vice-Chancellor of Warwick, Stuart Crofts, ensuring that two of the five boys would not return after student protests.
These sentences should have never been reduced in the first place. Warwick’s decision to reduce these sentences was careless and their vague response to the attitudes surrounding the decision was unacceptable. They failed to prioritise the victims and the content these boys labelled as a ‘joke’ was dismissed.
The behaviour in this group chat is not new. The NUS has already shown grave concern at normalised sexist, misogynist, or homophobic ‘banter’, which has partly resulted from a failure to address the problems of ‘lad culture’. The welfare of students needs to be assured above anything else. If issues surrounding violent language are not taken seriously, they will be normalised as nothing more than ‘laddish’ banter and thrive.