Warwick Uni allows student who admitted to sexual misconduct to stay on campus
The uni called his actions ‘unacceptable’ but he was allowed back on campus anyway
A University of Warwick student who admitted to sexual misconduct has been allowed to stay on campus to complete his studies despite the university describing his actions as “unacceptable” in a formal report.
His victim, Muneira*, feels completely unsupported and silenced. “I just don’t get it – what will it take for these people to get kicked out? And what does Warwick have to gain by letting them stay?” she told The Tab.
Yet, last week, Warwick VC Stuart Croft sent an email to all students saying that Warwick has been “continually trying to improve” since the rape group chat scandal that happened two years ago.
An internal investigation by the university found that the male student had committed sexual misconduct after an incident in a Warwick University halls bedroom last year where he touched Muneira inappropriately and without her consent.
In documents obtained by The Tab, Muneira describes her experience and says that she tensed up, “froze” and didn’t know how to leave or whether to make a sound.
She reported the incident nearly a year ago, in January 2020, but due to Covid-19 slowing the process down has only just received the result. An outcome report has confirmed that the male student will be allowed to stay on campus to complete his degree.
“I was so upset and disappointed. And so much of me was angry. But most of all I just felt very, very unsupported. I feel like in general, these institutions are very protective over men. Even when doing the exact opposite would probably benefit them and their reputation more – but they shouldn’t be doing it just to protect their reputation anyway,” she said.
This outcome is the result of a year-long process that involved Muneira recounting her entire experience to multiple Warwick Uni staff members and discussions over Microsoft Teams – at one point with nine other participants, including four men. One of these Zoom calls also involved the perpetrator.
In the first meeting, she recounted the sexual misconduct in full. She described how she and the student were sat on a bed together, watching a film when he started touching her thigh. He continued to do this and touch her hand despite her asking why he was choosing to do it. He then tried to kiss her but she moved away, then he proceeded to touch her breasts, squeeze her nipples, and stroke between her thighs. He attempted to put his hand down her trousers three times. When she turned away and was no longer facing him he grinded on her and gyrated his crotch against her – which he has since denied.
Muneira says she just “froze” and didn’t know what to do. Then she got up and left. This incident lasted for over five minutes. In meeting notes obtained by The Tab it can be seen that the male student has since admitted to touching her breasts, trying to kiss her and putting his hands down her trousers. He has expressed regret for his actions, agreeing that he misunderstood consent.
During this initial meeting where Muneira recounted her experience a Warwick staff member asked her “what were you wearing?” This is documented in official minutes from the meeting.
When her case was concluded this month it was decided that the male student would be allowed to continue his degree on campus but it was recommended that he be banned from student accommodation and facilities, such as the SU. After what happened with the rape group chat, where the perpetrators were allowed back on campus to complete their studies, Muneira expected better of the uni, but didn’t get it. “I expected some level of improvement on their side,” she said. “I just don’t get what they have to gain by not kicking these people out.”
She dreads seeing the male student when she returns to university in January for second term, and says that fear of bumping into him has already made the past year at uni hard enough. “It feels like they’re still trying to protect him. And I just don’t understand it. At the end of the day, this whole thing has obviously been so much worse for me than it has been for him.”
Muneira reported the incident to the university and not the police because her CRASAC (Coventry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre) advisor, who has been taking care of her throughout this process, warned her that it may take years and outlast her whole university experience. And yet the university experience took a year, and the perpetrator is still studying at the uni. When she graduates, he will graduate with her.
“It’s made me want to recommend Warwick to people less,” she told The Tab. “I used to recommend for other people to come to this uni a lot. But now feel some sort of responsibility there. Because I did actually have faith that they would be more serious. And that’s what was also very disheartening. Now I wouldn’t recommend it, especially for girls.”
Despite the process being over and the male student admitting to the sexual misconduct, she still feels silenced. “But then, even if I spoke openly I know they wouldn’t kick me out,” she said, “because they can’t even kick him out for what he did me.”
A spokesperson for the University of Warwick said: “Although we cannot comment on an individual case, our policy on sexual misconduct is clear – it will not be tolerated. If individuals are found to have broken our values, either by the Police or by our own comprehensive disciplinary processes, we impose sanctions.
“All individuals involved in a disciplinary case are provided with support from dedicated Student Liaison Officers who have attended sexual misconduct training, and members of disciplinary panels considering sexual misconduct cases receive training from the Coventry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre and an external independent Sexual Misconduct Investigator. Disciplinary processes are victim-led, which means the pace and duration of these processes can vary significantly. Victims of sexual misconduct do not have to attend disciplinary hearings, although they can choose to do so. At no point are they in the same room (or visible on camera in video calls) as their alleged attacker. Questions put to the victim in the course of the investigation are intended to establish the context for what happened and help the victim to remember important details.
“We also ensure that disciplinary panels are fully informed about the nature of any incident being considered – and they are also briefed on potential risks to the community if a student going through a disciplinary process is allowed to continue their studies during the process, or to return to them at a future date after a period of temporary withdrawal. If individuals are allowed to return to the University after disciplinary action, this is only if we are satisfied that they are fit to return to our community and after they have completed training overseen by a suitably qualified professional.
“All victims of sexual misconduct also have the right of appeal. An appeal will be considered by a separate Discipline Appeals Committee.
“Should any member of the University community have concerns about student discipline or any other incidents, we urge them to use the Report and Support portal so that we can provide support. We are committed to tackling sexual misconduct issues as a community and welcome the efforts of those who raise these issues with us. Together we can raise awareness, provide support and be clear about our values so that we continue to change behaviour and attitudes.”
*Muneira’s name has been changed to protect her identity.