History Faculty tells students to refrain from speaking out over Tit Hall scandal

Students were sent an email by the head of Faculty


CN: this article contains mention of sexual assault.

In the wake of the allegations made against Trinity Hall's former Senior Tutor, the History Faculty Chair sent an email to all historians, telling them to "please refrain from discussing the matter with the press or on social media."

The warning may have come too late, with students already taking to Camfess and Tit Hall Anonymous to express discontent with the way the matter has been handled.

The email read as follows:

"I write with regard to the publication of an article about Trinity Hall, which reports a serious allegation made against one of the Faculty's staff. It is necessary to stress that this was dismissed by the police and that no further action has been taken. The University takes allegations about sexual misconduct by staff and students very seriously. At the present time, it is satisfied that no additional steps need to be taken in the interests of the welfare of the Faculty's students and staff.

I would ask that you respect the privacy of the colleague involved.

Please refrain from discussing the matter with the press or on social media. Any requests for comment on this should be directed to the University's Communications Office ([email protected]), copying the message to me ([email protected]). I am happy to discuss this matter directly with any colleague or student who may have concerns."

Sources of help and advice are also linked.

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The acting Senior Tutor in 2018 was accused of sexual assault, according to an investigation by Tortoise, and was allowed to stay in his pastoral care position and continue overseeing an unrelated investigation into internal sexual assault cases within Trinity Hall. The academic was never charged and the matter was dropped by the police, which the email mentions.

A University spokesperson said to the Cambridge Tab:

"The Faculty of History, along with the University, takes its safeguarding responsibilities extremely seriously. It is also fully aware that the experiences of students involved in any incident of alleged sexual misconduct can be extremely traumatic.

"The University regards the welfare of its students as its highest priority. In this instance it believes it has taken the necessary steps to protect this. If this changes, then further action will be taken at the appropriate point.

"The Faculty of History is not trying to silence students. The email from the Chair of Faculty was a request to exercise restraint in public comment regarding an individual who has not been charged with a crime and who vigorously asserts his innocence. It is the same advice that the University offers when students find themselves in difficult situations."

The university service Breaking the Silence includes advice on support and reporting for victims of sexual harassment, and this is the direct link for its anonymous reporting .

Image credit: Flickr.