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Why this UK uni expelled its students who wrote ‘If you ain’t English, go home’

No tolerance for racism and sexism. Source: Shutterstock

The University of Exeter has expelled several law students to make a serious stance against racism and sexism following its investigation into the students’ allegedly hateful comments made online.

According to The Independent, the university said the investigation has resulted in “expulsions, suspensions and other significant sanctions” for the Bracton Law Society students who shared racial epithets and messages such as “If you ain’t English, go home,” “If they’re black, send em back,” “bomb the mosques” and “we need a race war”.

In a statement, the university said: “Exeter does not tolerate any form of racist, sexist or bigoted behaviour and is committed to eradicating any instances of discrimination and harassment that may arise.

“These sanctions demonstrate our absolute commitment to take serious action against those whose behaviour is fundamentally at odds with our commitment to inclusivity, tolerance and respect.”

The university added that it has established a new “Provost Commission” to work towards an “open diverse and safe university community”.

The comments were first revealed by fellow student, Arsalan Motavali, who documented the messages appearing on the “Dodgy Blokes Soc” WhatsApp group last summer. The worst examples include support for policy of racial discrimination and jokes about gang rape, as well as buying African slaves.

His exposé led to the university’s investigation and an anti-racism rally at Exeter, where students spoke out against the “recent vile racist and misogynistic comments” and the “systemic issues” behind them.

Exeter’s case come in the midst of a recent spate of racist incidents at British universities. At Sheffield Hallam University, a black student was allegedly called a monkey by staff. A black Sheffield Hallam graduate had a banana reportedly thrown at him during an ice hockey match between his alma mater and the University of Sheffield. Two Nottingham Trent University students are charged with racially or religiously aggravated harassment after a video showed them chanting “We hate the blacks” and “Sign the Brexit papers”.

These reports can understandably spark anxiety about studying abroad, as students may be concerned they will be the victims of discrimination. Concerned international students should take note of their respective campus’ emergency contact numbers – such as the patrol team’s and helplines – as well as visit their student support or international student centre should they encounter any similar incidents.

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