Exposed: UoB officer training soldiers’ threats about Guild Officer
‘It was rough knowing that someone actually hated me that much and wanted to attack me’
Screenshots of an Officer Training Corps group chat have revealed messages threatening the Guild Sports Officer following a Guild decision to not give OTC members tickets to Sports Night this year.
In screenshots obtained by The Birmingham Tab, Simon Price, Guild Sports Officer, was threatened with violence, with messages saying: "I will actually spark him if I see him on a night out", and speaking about plans to make sure Simon was drunk and then "chin him".
Other messages also contain comments about sexual assault and homophobic jokes.
Speaking to The Birmingham Tab, Simon said: "At Fab and Sports Night the following weeks I was certainly on edge that something would happen" after discovering the messages.
He added that "knowing that someone actually hated me that much and wanted to attack me" put a cloud over first term.
University of Birmingham Officer Training Corps (UOTCB) are an army reserve unit, operated by the British Army. The Birmingham unit covers other West Midlands universities, but is predominantly made up of UoB students. Members are paid, at the standard service rate, with a tax-free bounty paid on the completion of each full year’s training.
The members were angered following the Guild's decision to not allocate them tickets for Sports Night this year, due to both a shortage of tickets and a series of incidents last year.
Simon told The Birmingham Tab: "The decision to not allow OTC Sports Night tickets was based on previous incidents as well as the huge demand for tickets."
The group chat members made several comments one stating "I'm gonna fuck with the sports captains life"(sic) and "He's so gay". Simon has a girlfriend.
The student, a current UOTC member, also says: "I'll make sure his pissed. Mug him off so he picks a fight then just chin him".
Another, a recent UoB grad and UOTC alumnus, said: "He's a little whammer and if any of you voted for him you're cucks lol". An online definition of whammer describes the term as: "A heterosexual individual who appears homosexual or camp, however is in denial"
He also referred to him as "slithery Simon Price".
In a document outlining acceptable behaviour, the Army say: "Values and Standards apply to all officers and soldiers of every rank and at all times, without exception."
The standards also say: "It is not practical to list every form of unacceptable behaviour, but it includes: bullying; harassment; discrimination; abuse; dishonesty; intimidation; victimisation; social misconduct or conduct which runs counter to common decency that might, by its nature, bring the Army into disrepute, whether in person or online. This also includes unwanted or unguarded comments about another person’s sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, ethnicity or religion."
The group chat also contained sinister messages, vividly discussing sexual assault and making transphobic jokes.
One message about a pace stick, a piece of army equipment used at parades, said: "I used it to mollest a lass last year" (sic). Another member then remarked: "That pace stick needs to be bleached".
Simon said "The messages from the groupchat are appalling, not just the threats about me but also the general homophobia, racism, and sexist language throughout."
The threats, dating back to September, have had a serious impact on Simon's time as Sports Officer. He told The Birmingham Tab: "It made first term quite rough to be honest knowing that someone actually hated me that much and wanted to attack me."
Simon attempted to report the messages through the university, but as he would not reveal how he obtained screenshots of the chat, the university were unable to pursue the report.
The University of Birmingham said: "As outlined in our student conduct regulations, the University reserves the right to pursue disciplinary action if students are found to have breached our disciplinary offences.
“The University treats all student complaints with the upmost seriousness. As is clear in our complaints process, it is for the complainant to decide whether to take an issue forward to a formal complaint and for the University to support students in their decision. Where appropriate, we also support students in escalating serious cases to West Midlands Police for further investigation.
"As part of this process, the welfare of the complainant remains a key consideration. In this case, the complainant decided not to take the issue further.
"For this reason we were already in dialogue with the British Army reviewing how the standards set out by the British Army for the Officers’ Training Corps interact with our own disciplinary process, and how good conduct can be maintained."
Birmingham UOTC have been contacted for comment, as well as those who sent the messages.
Featured image: @uotc.birmingham via Instagram