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Fresher who chanted ‘we hate the blacks’ pleads guilty to racial harassment and fined £800

The racist incident took place in Nottingham Trent halls back in March

Two freshers at Nottingham Trent University appeared in court today after footage of them chanting "we hate the blacks" in halls was published on Twitter in March.

Joe Tivnan pleaded guilty and has been fined £800 while Lauren Leigh pleaded not guilty and will face trial in July.

Rufaro Chisango, the only black student on her floor, shared the video filmed from inside her halls bedroom, which resulted in two students being arrested and subsequently banned from the university campus.

Joe Tivnan, a first year Law student at Trent, pleaded guilty to racially or religiously aggravated harassment.

He admitted using threatening or abusive words which caused distress, and was said to had been taking part in a fellow undergraduate's birthday celebrations with around 20 other students on March 5th of this year.

Tivnan will have to pay £500 compensation to Rufaro, after the hearing at Nottingham Magistrates Court today.

He was also fined £200 and told to pay £85 towards the court costs, plus a £30 victim surcharge – making his total fine £815.

Tivnan told the judge: "I wish to make an unreserved apology to anyone who has been affected by my behaviour in this case.

"It was just mutual repartee between me and a mixed-raced friend. It was still unacceptable language and I am ashamed by my behaviour. I am truly sorry for the distress I have caused."

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Joe Tivnan, 19, student at Nottingham Trent University

Steven Ramsell, defending, said: "His university place will likely be lost and his hope of a career in law has suffered irreparable damage."

He said Tivnan was "at great pains to make clear that this was not a targeted, malicious, vindictive action on his part".

The 19-year-old from Birmingham has been on academic suspension since the incident and is awaiting the outcome of an internal investigation.

District Judge Leo Pyle told the law student: "You went off to continue your evening and this woman was too frightened to even leave her room.

"These words were described by other students as shocking, disgusting, appalling and disgraceful.

"It was entirely understandable that she felt what was being chanted was being aimed at her."

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Lauren Leigh, 18, student at Nottingham Trent University

Lauren Leigh, also a first year student at Trent, pleaded not guilty to an offence in connection to the same incident and was granted unconditional bail until her trial on July 19.

A Nottingham Trent University spokesperson said: “Today’s hearing was in relation to an incident involving NTU students in March.

“As criminal proceedings remain active, we continue to follow police advice to pause our own internal investigation on all related matters until they come to a close.

“It would be inappropriate to say anything more regarding this incident until the case is fully concluded.”

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