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Sheffield Uni apologise for ‘unacceptable’ delay in response to Varsity incident

New anti-racism measures have been announced

The University of Sheffield have apologised for distress caused by their response to the banana throwing incident at Varsity.

An email sent to SU Officers and members of the BME Committee by the University admits that the delay between the incident and the investigation was "unacceptable."

Although the University have said it was "not a racist incident", they have now announced new anti-racism measures.

The incident took place on Wednesday 21 March during the ice hockey, with the University saying the "multi-partnered nature" of Varsity caused a delay in the complaint being processed.

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A banana was thrown at Hallam graduate Tyrell Pearce

The email continues:

"Whilst some of these circumstances were outside the University's control, we accept that the length of this delay was unacceptable and will be reviewing current procedures to ensure this does not happen again."

The incident was referred to campus police officers on 29 March, in order to comply with University regulations stating that no action can be taken pending a police investigation.

Sheffield Hallam confirming that victim Tyrell Pearce, a sports science graduate, is not a current student "made the process of locating the victim more problematic".

Despite Tyrell telling The Tab his story on 31 March, he was not located by campus officers until 5 April. It was confirmed the next day that he did not want a police investigation.

An interview with the accused student, who has not been named publicly by the University, lasted for 11 days and ran until 27 April.

The student accepted the outcome of the investigation, and has been assigned ten hours of volunteering, as well as writing apology letters.

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An anti-racism protest took place outside Firth Court last week

The University "recognises that the above process took over a month and that during this time, the wider student body, and in particular the BAME student society, felt unaware of the ongoing action."

They also state that they "recognise that better communication with student representatives during this time would have been helpful. We will strive to ensure appropriate improvement in communications with the student body for similar future incidents."

A new Task Group will be formed by the University with students and the Students’ Union to improve inclusiveness on campus, promote racial inclusion, offer education "to tackle ignorance where it exists", and celebrate racial diversity.

The new Task Group is to be chaired by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, who is also the chair of the University Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Varsity procedures are to be reviewed in order to avoid any such delays taking place in the future when incidents are reported.

In response to student feedback over lack of clarity about how to report incidents, the University said "there are various sources of information on this on our web pages…events such as introductory week and crime prevention fortnight provide information on this to all students."

The email sent out by The University of Sheffield concludes:

"The University apologises once again for any upset caused to our students in the response to this incident and looks forward to a strong, productive collaborative programme of work in the months ahead to ensure a positive University environment where all are supported to achieve their potential in an atmosphere of dignity and respect."