Exclusive: Lancaster SU have suspended their BME officer for exposing the Snowsports social
‘Within 48 hours they’ve managed to organise a full investigation meeting for me over an ‘alleged breach’ but not for Snowsports’
Lancaster SU have suspended their BME officer for exposing the Snowsports white t-shirt social where students wore swastikas and rape jokes.
Chloe Long has been temporarily suspended for an alleged breach of confidentiality, 48 hours after making the photographs – which were previously posted to Facebook by Lancaster's SU club – public.
Within hours of her suspension, she is no longer listed as a BME Students' Officer on the Lancaster SU website. However, at the time of publishing, students can still sign up to become a member of the Snowsports society.
Speaking to The Lancaster Tab, Chloe said: "They care more that the information got out than the fact that there are Lancaster students roaming around their campus with discriminatory t-shirts on."
Students at the social, held on October 12th had "I've got muscles cus dad raped me", "Sandyhook woz bantz", and "Jimmy Savile was misunderstood" on their t-shirts. The university suspended the society and convened a panel, which was yet to agree on punishment for the students involved. Chloe was on the panel, along with two senior uni staff, and spoke up out of frustration.
A lack of urgency in the investigation prompted her to speak out. "Although we had five days to come to a decision, we were advised that if it took longer to decide that we could have more time, which is unacceptable," she told The Lancaster Tab.
"If we can’t agree that hate speech is a punishable action which goes further than a formal warning, then we would never be able to agree."
The difference between how swiftly the uni dealt with her exposing the social and how slowly she feels the Snowsports social was dealt with prompted her to come out with information about her suspension. "Within 48 hours they’ve managed to organise a full investigation meeting for me over an 'alleged breach' but not for Snowsports who have concrete evidence against them," she told The Lancaster Tab.
Chloe posted on Facebook explaining her frustration. Extracts of her post read: "Before I begin it’s important to note that the investigation that I am currently under is due to an alleged breach of confidentiality. Meanwhile, Snowsports Society promoted paedophilic, homophobic, racist, xenophobic and nazi-praising statements on their t-shirts. Something which Sugarhouse, a LUSU run business, posted on their official Facebook page.
"This investigation took over four weeks to even form a panel. I have already, within 48 hours of releasing these photographs been put under temporarily suspension and invited in for an investigations meeting. WITHIN 48 HOURS.
"Mortified that once again the Students' Union has managed to fail. Fail in their ability to deal with the welfare of students, and fail in their ability to handle 'investigations'. I wish I understood how they have managed to gather all of the relevant information together for my 'investigation' in such short time, but took OVER FOUR WEEKS to form a panel to investigate the Snowsports Society.
"Whilst I’m mostly angry at what has happened over the past week, I’m mostly disappointed. Disappointed to represent the Union and stand as a BME woman, and disappointed to voluntarily give up time and energy to fight for the rights of my people in an establishment that put their own reputation above the welfare of its students and those living on campus.
"Although I am currently under suspension as a PTO for BME students, it’s important that I will still fight for our rights, our voices to be heard, and a platform for us to stand on. The Union assumed they were above the law in being able to deal with this hate crime, a crime which has now been reported to the police, as should have happened on the 12th of October when the incident occurred. I’m appalled to say I represent a Union that scapegoats Part-time Officers like myself, and further threatens other Part-time Officers with sanctions who once stood in solidarity with me for this cause.
"I just hope that maybe, finally, the Union can deal with these issues correctly in the future. Although, I’m not holding my breath."
A spokesperson for Lancaster University Students' Union told The Lancaster Tab: "For reasons of confidentiality, it is not appropriate for the union to discuss matters relating to individual students."