Warwick Scandal - Media Articles

 

In 2018 two female university students at Warwick University found themselves at the centre of a group chat between male students which involved discussions of genital mutilation, sexual violence, rape threats and racism. The men in the group chat were on the same course as the female students and were also close friends. The conversation mentioned how one of the men had actually drugged a female university student on a night out.

The investigation was led by Warwick's Head of Press and Media Relations, Peter Dunn. Barrister Daniel Sokol commented: "You can imagine a situation where the press officer thinks 'well I think the just thing to do would be to do this but if I put my press officer hat on that wouldn't look good in terms of the perception and the reputation of the university'. The university then suspended 11 students while an investigation began. But that initial investigation itself prompted accusations of conspiracy because of the conflict of interests of the head investigator.

During that interview led by Dunn, one of the complainants claims Dunn was 'very accusatory from the beginning'  in the way that he questioned her and the other victim who had come forward and reduced her to tears. We were told straight away that our stories didn't line up... I was very scared, I remember coming out of that meeting crying."

'He went through it one by one and asked me if I had any sexual relations with any of them. He made me go through every single page and he asked me, "How did that make you feel?", and the things that he was talking me through and asking me to repeat were very, very, very violent rape threats against me and my friends.'

The outcome of the disciplinary investigation was that five of the students were suspended. Two were banned for 10 years - and have now had that reduced to one year, two were excluded for one year, and one was given a lifetime campus ban. However, the ban was later changed on appeal by the students, which meant they could rejoin classes in September 2019 while their victims were still on campus. This

The relative leniency of the punishments as well as Warwick's investigations led by a PR person whose duties included protecting Warwick's reputation caused a media backlash and a scandal that resulted in Warwick being widely accused of failing their students' safety, of re-victimising victims of sexual misconduct, of putting their reputation before their students' wellbeing and of general incompetence. A subsequent review found that "there had been ‘a profoundly unsatisfactory outcome for almost every single person involved’" The scandal resulted in Warwick having to suspend its fundraising amid an outcry from Warwick's alumni.

 

Warwick fails to protect students' safety and treats victims as supects during the investigations

Student subjected to rape threats in a Warwick Uni Facebook group chat claims SHE was quizzed on her sexual history when she reported it

Warwick University not safe, says woman targeted by 'rape chat'

‘I have never felt more threatened’: Girls at Warwick speak out against the boys group chat

Warwick University WhatsApp rape chat students fined as little as £100 each

'Sometimes it's fun to go wild and rape 100 girls': Eleven Warwick University students are suspended for posting vile misogynistic, racist and anti-Semitic messages on Facebook group

Warwick University students who discussed raping women in Facebook group are fined as little as £100 and able to continue their studies

Group chat men eligible to return this year not coming back, unaware victims “left in fear” by Warwick

Warwick rape chat student 'devastated' as uni defends decision

Warwick students suspended over rape threats allowed to return early

What is the Warwick Uni rape scandal?

Warwick university students banned over rape threats and racial slurs allowed back early

Warwick University Rape Chat Scandal: How chat was discovered

The BBC are making a documentary about the Warwick group chat scandal

University of Warwick WhatsApp rape chat students were fined over scandal

Warwick Uni fined the group chat students £1,150

Warwick group chat scandal perpetrators fined £1,150

Warwick University fines six students involved in 'rape chat' scandal £1,150

Harrowing BBC Three documentary exposes Warwick University rape chat scandal

11 Warwick students suspended for threatening to rape female Warwick students in group chat

University of Warwick suspends 11 students over rape jokes and racist slurs on Facebook

University of Warwick suspends 11 students over hate posts

Group chat students back next year as Warwick accused of lack of transparency

Warwick SU demand emergency meeting with Vice-Chancellor

‘Let’s do it all again’: Second Warwick boys group chat exposed

University of Warwick students banned from campus, following rape-filled and racist online chat

Named and pictured: The Warwick boys who made rape jokes in their group chat

 

Biased investigation by Warwick University

In a BBC documentary, Peter Dunn, director of press and media relations at the University of Warwick, is alleged to have added to the distress of female students who complained about rape threats by subjecting them to an "accusatory" and intimidating interrogation.

Concerns over a conflict of interest in the case have resulted in the University deciding that comms professionals will no longer be allowed to act as investigators into complaints involving staff or students.

The Warwick 'group chat' scandal, the coverage and the commentary, is a tragic reminder of the distance we need to travel as an industry to raise the bar and fulfil our leadership potential.

Warwick Vice-Chancellor: “Senior management does not control the disciplinary process”

 

Financial and reputational consequences after Warwick failed to protect its students

‘Rape chat’ scandal hits Warwick University’s fundraising

Warwick’s fundraising drive suspended over group chat handling

Warwick university alumni make tough demands over rape chat scandal

University leadership say they’re “deeply sorry” as review details announced

How a rape scandal has engulfed British universities and sparked protests across the country

Warwick students suspended for rape chat 'won't return'

Warwick Students Who Made Rape Threats In Group Chat Will Not Return

Warwick University students SUE over sickening WhatsApp rape chat scandal

Students suing University of Warwick over rape group chat scandal

Two students to sue Warwick University over WhatsApp rape threat scandal

Warwick University: Vice chancellor apologises for mistakes over rape chat scandal

Two Warwick group chat victims are suing the university

‘Lying in Silence’: the Warwick group chat scandal told through theatre

Warwick spent over £4,000 on external security for group chat protest

 

Warwick University hires legal expert for rape chat review

 

Comment

A ‘duty of care’ for sexists – no wonder Warwick students are furious

Warwick’s non-rape rape scandal

Warwick student rape chat scandal: Should they be prosecuted?