University of Warwick suspends 11 students over rape jokes Watch

Poll: Opinion on Warwick Rape Joke Students
Free speech and you should be allowed to have any opinion. (80)
17.66%
Just a joke and taking too seriously. (77)
17%
It was private and their business (75)
16.56%
They should have mediation and sort it out between themselves. (35)
7.73%
Officers and the ones making jokes about known students should be expelled. (86)
18.98%
The university should consider damage to its reputation and expell. (100)
22.08%
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They were discussing actually raping people...Of course they should be suspended? Why are people questioning this?
Also this is hardly a matter of the 'thought police' or what have you, 'Joking' repeatedly about things like this and in the process making fellow students uncomfortable and insighting sexist and racist behaviour or even violence isn't a right that should be protected under freedom of speech
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Notoriety)

Maybe you can find some disrepute cases?
(Original post by NYU2012)
Notoriety has already detailed why this isn’t relevant. And I thank him for that, while I was off and away doing other things.

I must really stress that if you’re going to try to challenge an assertion of law, you need a relevant case. Citing off-topic case law certainly doesn’t bolster your assertions in any way.

And, indeed, (1) I never said a university didn’t have an obligation to act in the absence of a possible tort suit, at least not how you’re trying to make it out here as a broad sweeping proposition about law; (2) I certainly never stated that a lack of obligation is a lack of right.

And, finally, my main argument has been the hybrid public authority issue under the HRA, not tort law.

I would be interested if you found any case law on offensiveness or disrepute that contradicted my proposition that a university is bounded by HRA.
As NYU2012 at least ought to know the common law does not proceed on the basis that only a case on all fours is relevant as a precedent.

There is no basis for disputing NYU2012's assertion that a university is bound by the HRA but his argument as to what the HRA requires is to all intents and purposes the losing argument about protected speech in Ngole. Moreover, the quality or otherwise of that argument doesn't vary depending on whether the decision maker is a disciplinary panel or an FTP panel. Essentially NYU2012 is wrong as to the degree of deference the HRA requires to allegedly offensive speech.

I can't offer you a case on "disrepute" but I can offer you a case where an offensive Facebook posting by a student unrelated to the student's course was held by a university to be a serious act of misconduct and the Court did not demur from that finding.

The case is

https://www.matrixlaw.co.uk/wp-conte...WCA-Civ-13.doc

The vast majority of the case concerns a fitness to practice hearing and the appeal and adjudicator's decision following that FTP hearing. That material isn't relevant to this point. . However, before putting the facts up to the FTP hearing,the university took disciplinary action in relation to the same events.
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CompSci in2k17
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They've clearly got some inside joke going on here. I don't understand how people can think that these people are actually going to go out and rape people...
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
As NYU2012 at least ought to know the common law does not proceed on the basis that only a case on all fours is relevant as a precedent.

There is no basis for disputing NYU2012's assertion that a university is bound by the HRA but his argument as to what the HRA requires is to all intents and purposes the losing argument about protected speech in Ngole. Moreover, the quality or otherwise of that argument doesn't vary depending on whether the decision maker is a disciplinary panel or an FTP panel. Essentially NYU2012 is wrong as to the degree of deference the HRA requires to allegedly offensive speech.

I can't offer you a case on "disrepute" but I can offer you a case where an offensive Facebook posting by a student unrelated to the student's course was held by a university to be a serious act of misconduct and the Court did not demur from that finding.

The case is

https://www.matrixlaw.co.uk/wp-conte...WCA-Civ-13.doc

The vast majority of the case concerns a fitness to practice hearing and the appeal and adjudicator's decision following that FTP hearing. That material isn't relevant to this point. . However, before putting the facts up to the FTP hearing,the university took disciplinary action in relation to the same events.
Well, I think that FTP is a quite important distinction. The governing thought is not "offensiveness" but something much more specific and indeed sensible. Whether that student is fit to a) qualify with a professional qualification and b) continue having open access to the public, and be in a position of trust. The case above concerned a medical student who had previously had professional warnings about his conduct. In this instance, he posted potentially threatening comments to another student (who I understand was not identified, but this medical student said if he were to find this unidentified person, harm would come to them).

Of course, a violent and threatening person, who has previously not complied with professional warnings, is a liability and not someone you want treating patients under your good name. Indeed, if this temperamental student were to take a scalpel to a patient, causing great distress and mayhaps psychiatric harm, the university would end up compensating that patient. In these professional cases, it most likely would come down to tortious liability or at least contractual.

Now, my point is in response to offensiveness being the governing criterion to get rid of a student. I think there probably could be several cases of this type, the disrepute type, but I have not found any. This ties in with NYU's point because he is saying that a university's ability to remove a student from their studies for offensiveness would be prevented (or fettered) by the university's HRA responsibilities. As you have not provided a specific case about offensiveness alone, I think my half-argument (which was more normative than descriptive of the law) and NYU's HRA argument are not necessarily rebutted.

As quoted in the CA's judgment, from the GMC and MCS's guidance re student standards,

Medical students have certain privileges and responsibilities different from those of other students. Because of this, different standards of professional behaviour are expected of them. Medical schools are responsible for ensuring that medical students have opportunities to learn and practise the standards expected of them.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Notoriety)
Well, I think that FTP is a quite important distinction. The governing thought is not "offensiveness" but something much more specific and indeed sensible. Whether that student is fit to a) qualify with a professional qualification and b) continue having open access to the public, and be in a position of trust. The case above concerned a medical student who had previously had professional warnings about his conduct. In this instance, he posted potentially threatening comments to another student (who I understand was not identified, but this medical student said if he were to find this unidentified person, harm would come to them).

Of course, a violent and threatening person, who has previously not complied with professional warnings, is a liability and not someone you want treating patients under your good name. Indeed, if this temperamental student were to take a scalpel to a patient, causing great distress and mayhaps psychiatric harm, the university would end up compensating that patient. In these professional cases, it most likely would come down to tortious liability or at least contractual.

Now, my point is in response to offensiveness being the governing criterion to get rid of a student. I think there probably are several cases of this case, the disrepute type. This ties in with NYU's point because he is saying that a university's ability to remove a student from their studies for offensiveness would be prevented (or fettered) by the university's HRA responsibilities. As you have not provided a specific case about offensiveness alone, I think my half-argument (which was more normative than descriptive of the law) and NYU's HRA argument are not necessarily rebutted.

As quoted in the CA's judgment, from the GMC's code of conduct,
I am sorry this is nonsense.

There are two cases Ngole and Thilakawardhana. Ngole is solely an FTP case. In Thilakawardhana there is both an FTP case and a disciplinary case.

In Ngole, the student ran an argument that his speech was protected under the HRA. That argument, if sound, would win equally in respect of an FTP case or a disciplinary case. He lost in his FTP case. That means the argument is unsound and would be equally unsound in relation to a disciplinary case where NYU deployed the argument.

In Thilakawardhana, the student was disciplined by the university for her offensive speech before the FTP panel even met. The GMC code of conduct only has relevance to the FTP panel's deliberation.
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
I am sorry this is nonsense.

There are two cases Ngole and Thilakawardhana. Ngole is solely an FTP case. In Thilakawardhana there is both an FTP case and a disciplinary case.

In Ngole, the student ran an argument that his speech was protected under the HRA. That argument, if sound, would win equally in respect of an FTP case or a disciplinary case. He lost in his FTP case. That means the argument is unsound and would be equally unsound in relation to a disciplinary case where NYU deployed the argument.

In Thilakawardhana, the student was disciplined by the university for her offensive speech before the FTP panel even met. The GMC code of conduct only has relevance to the FTP panel's deliberation.
It was the FTP's panel's decision which got the student removed. As you well know, the disciplinary proceedings imposed the least serious punishment (a reprimand). It is not relevant to the expulsion. The more important rebuttal to your post is that the "meme" and FB postings were publicly posted on Facebook, with a rambling rant of "about 170 words" which rightly caused the seer to be alarmed and distressed. In other words, the governing thought was not offensiveness alone but the use of threatening language. This contrasts with the Warwick case further because, while potentially threatening to the seers, the posters never publicly posted the alarming content, nor did they expect it to be posted publicly.

— — Really, what are you saying about this? Of course, I do not suppose a university cannot expel a student who threatens other students. If you think this is the point I am making, I think you need to presume more good faith.

The circumstances are quite different, too. I think given the circumstances of the medical student case it would be rather likely an actual confrontation would be had -- that confrontation likely being aggressive given the 170-words rant of the student. Would students who've been mentioned once in a chat, mixed in with offensive comments about Jeremy Corbyn and Jews, seriously take it as a viable threat to their person? Some might, but I think the joking nature and genericness of the comments might cause the bulk to see the comments as feeble and unsophisticated attempts at humour. Even if it is threatening, the point above is still operative: they never publicly shared the messages. Culpability, the moral wickedness, must govern Warwick's handling of this case.
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999tigger
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(Original post by Notoriety)
It was the FTP's panel's decision which got the student removed. As you well know, the disciplinary proceedings imposed the least serious punishment (a reprimand). It is not relevant to the expulsion. The more important rebuttal to your post is that the "meme" and FB postings were publicly posted on Facebook, with a rambling rant of "about 170 words" which rightly caused the seer to be alarmed and distressed. This contrasts to the the Warwick case because, while potentially threatening to the seers, the posters never publicly posted the alarming content. In other words, the governing thought was not offensiveness alone but the use of threatening language.

— — Really, what are you saying about this? Of course, I do not suppose a university cannot expel a student who threatens other students. If you think this is the point I am making, I think you need to presume more good faith.

The circumstances are quite different, too. I think given the circumstances of the medical student case it would be rather likely an actual confrontation would be had -- that confrontation likely being aggressive given the 170-words rant of the student. Would students who've been mentioned once in a chat, mixed in with offensive comments about Jeremy Corbyn and Jews, seriously take it as a viable threat to their person? Some might, but I think the joking nature might cause the bulk and genericness of the comments as feeble unsophisticated attempts at humour. Even if it is threatening, the point above is still operative: they never publicly shared the messages. Culpability, the moral wickedness, must govern Warwick's handling of this case.

Do you think there has been any form of misconduct or it was all just banter and they are protected by freedom of speech? Is that freedom without limit?

Do you think they have broken the unis dignity and respect policy?
[btw I missed the point as to why you say they arent bound.]

What about the Unis IT policy?

They also have a cyber bullying policy.

Finally do you think they have brought the university into disrepute?

I can only guess what charges the uni might bring, but why not work through the policies and we can discuss whether theres been any misconduct and where that might be?

https://warwick.ac.uk/services/gov/c.../disciplinary/
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Do you think there has been any form of misconduct or it was all just banter and they are protected by freedom of speech? Is that freedom without limit?
I answered in the quoted post. I think speech which affects your ability to complete placements properly should have consequences. I think if you make sophisticated argument for being able to rape women because men are superior, that is troubling. I am not as free speech-y as my American cousin, though I suspect he sees some limits also. For private comments, as long as what is said is not illegal per se, I don't see how it is anyone's business.

Do you think they have broken the unis dignity and respect policy?
[btw I missed the point as to why you say they arent bound.]
I would repeat NYU's point because it was spot on (and I had said similar elsewhere!), but in effect the dignity and respect policy is aspirational. It is a ground for removal, but it should only be engaged proportionately. Not merely because people have been rude, but because they have been grossly rude and disrespectful that the uni cannot stand by. I imagine the NTU case falling into this. I imagine, however, that there is a culpability question to be answered. I think because the people never expected their joking comments to be disclosed to third parties that the culpability threshold should not be met.

What about the Unis IT policy?
Haven't looked at it. They used uni Wi-Fi now and again to send encrypted Facebook messages ... I think this would fall under the former argument about culpability. It is a strained, though legally clever argument; works better on paper than in practice.

They also have a cyber bullying policy.
I don't see how this is bullying because the targets of the "banterous comments" changed. Who were bullied, therefore? Women worldwide?

Finally do you think they have brought the university into disrepute?
No, I think people will still see Warwick as a brilliant university and they will disregard (in a matter of months) the silliness of some Warwick students in private. Remember what disrepute means; it is a rather forceful term. As above, culpability needs to be considered.

Say I am a lawyer with an LLB from Warwick. Despite my best efforts, I make a slight mistake with my pleadings and someone goes free who should not have -- awful but happens every day to someone. Buzzfeed picks up on it, runs story after story, poses questions about the efficacy of a Warwick law education such that a few naive applicants decide to withdraw their applications. Name is in disrepute, but is it so in the eyes of reasonable people? I mean, you're describing news publications forcefully running a story non-stop. It does not say anything about me or my wrongness; the disrepute is exogenous. Should I have my LLB taken away from me merely for being a but-for cause of some disrepute?

No, again, you have to consider culpability because it is the only way to go about these proceedings in a reasonable way.
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
I am sorry this is nonsense.

There are two cases Ngole and Thilakawardhana. Ngole is solely an FTP case. In Thilakawardhana there is both an FTP case and a disciplinary case.

In Ngole, the student ran an argument that his speech was protected under the HRA. That argument, if sound, would win equally in respect of an FTP case or a disciplinary case. He lost in his FTP case. That means the argument is unsound and would be equally unsound in relation to a disciplinary case where NYU deployed the argument.

In Thilakawardhana, the student was disciplined by the university for her offensive speech before the FTP panel even met. The GMC code of conduct only has relevance to the FTP panel's deliberation.
To me, this seems fundamentally wrong. FTP isn’t constrained by similar HRA considerations, because there is no right to practice in a professionally regulated body — at least not that I know of.

Thus, while there will be some constraint with regard to HRA, this constraint will be effectively weakened by the context in which the proceeding is occurring.

This contrasts with the proposition that education is a right — even higher education is loosely within this right (at least as far my knowledge goes, correct me if I’m wrong), though states have some wide discretion in this area.

Coupled with the University’s consideration to Article 10, I simply see it as wrong for a university to expel a student on the basis of offensiveness, particularly in a private setting. That is, I would find it unreasonable if I made an offensive joke to another student, off-campus and in my own home, and was subsequently expelled. There’s also the issue of what is offensiveness for relevant purposes, as opposed to tasteless humor? I find policing humor to be concerning because it asks judges to make aesthetic judgments about what someone else might consider “art.”

I take issue with the disrepute charge for the same reasons and also overbreadth. Namely, the University’s dignity policy captures virtually all conduct, including conduct we would consider it blatantly unreasonable to regulate. As such, the rule needs to be read as narrowly as possible. And, it’s not clear how private conservations bring disrepute on a university. If private conversations bring disrepute to a university then, yet again, I bet I could capture the majority of students because, I would further bet that most have made statements qualifying as disreputable.

I will also add in the caveat here: I did study freedom of speech at UChi and, as such, it should perhaps come as no surprise that I almost universally agree with the university’s position on free speech, as well as e.g. Posner and Stone. I take a very strict and strong view of free speech (my only disagreement is on hate speech, which is a categorically different kind of offense compared to mere offensiveness).

So, perhaps my ideological commitments on the meaning of freedom of speech discolor my view. But nothing would indicate to me that this is the case. As I stated, if you have on point case law, that would be dispositive.
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(Original post by 999tigger)
For
Just jokes and not illegal.
Was a private group
Free speech

Against
Causes actual harm
Some of the rape comments concerned actual students.
Normalises behaviour.
Does damage to the university,
There is an implicit assumption here that these comments attracted this response because they concerned violence or whatever. How many students have been similarly disciplined for advocating or "advocating" similar violence against bankers, Brexit voters, or the SNP? Is that because no such incidents have ever taken place?

These are political punishments designed to promote a certain ideology.
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(Original post by NYU2012)
I take a very strict and strong view of free speech (my only disagreement is on hate speech
lol
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999tigger
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(Original post by Notoriety)
I answered in the quoted post. I think speech which affects your ability to complete placements properly should have consequences. I think if you make sophisticated argument for being able to rape women because men are superior, that is troubling. I am not as free speech-y as my American cousin, though I suspect he sees some limits also. For private comments, as long as what is said is not illegal per se, I don't see how it is anyone's business.



I would repeat NYU's point because it was spot on (and I had said similar elsewhere!), but in effect the dignity and respect policy is aspirational. It is a ground for removal, but it should only be engaged proportionately. Not merely because people have been rude, but because they have been grossly rude and disrespectful that the uni cannot stand by. I imagine the NTU case falling into this. I imagine, however, that there is a culpability question to be answered. I think because the people never expected their joking comments to be disclosed to third parties that the culpability threshold should not be met.



Haven't looked at it. They used uni Wi-Fi now and again to send encrypted Facebook messages ... I think this would fall under the former argument about culpability. It is a strained, though legally clever argument; works better on paper than in practice.



I don't see how this is bullying because the targets of the "banterous comments" changed. Who were bullied, therefore? Women worldwide?



No, I think people will still see Warwick as a brilliant university and they will disregard (in a matter of months) the silliness of some Warwick students in private. Remember what disrepute means; it is a rather forceful term. As above, culpability needs to be considered.

Say I am a lawyer with an LLB from Warwick. Despite my best efforts, I make a slight mistake with my pleadings and someone goes free who should not have -- awful but happens every day to someone. Buzzfeed picks up on it, runs story after story, poses questions about the efficacy of a Warwick law education such that a few naive applicants decide to withdraw their applications. Name is in disrepute, but is it so in the eyes of reasonable people? I mean, you're describing news publications forcefully running a story non-stop. It does not say anything about me or my wrongness; the disrepute is exogenous. Should I have my LLB taken away from me merely for being a but-for cause of some disrepute?

No, again, you have to consider culpability because it is the only way to go about these proceedings in a reasonable way.
1. Sorry I was referring to article 10. It appears there are limitations and it doesnt protect everyone in all situations. My reading of it is that they look at the type of speech being protected and weigh it up against other considerations. Things like political comment are given top priority, but then theres a sliding scale. I have my doubts as to whether they would qualify for Art 10 protection.

2. I dont see how it can only be aspirational otherwise that would make it impossible to breach. Certainly didnt strike me as aspirational when i was reading them especially as it has a sanctions section and complaints procedure. Surprised you two were so dismissive. It is pretty detailed. There are plenty of females that dont see it as just jokey banter , but quite disturbing, especially the fellow students who were identified and the comments made at their expense. I am unconvinced when they have 98 pages of such stuff they can brush it off so easily as it shows a persistent and ongoing disrespect for women in quite an extreme way. Within the rules it does say things are treated proportionately, but a minor offence can become major.

3. Dont see the problem with the IT argument as it


Reg. 31 The use of University Computing Facilities


5.1 Users shall not use the Computing Facilities or any e-mail or Internet services used on the Computing Facilities:

5.1.1 Subject to clause 5.1.2 to view, create, transmit or store material which could be considered, offensive, obscene, indecent, abusive, harassing, derogatory or defamatory, material related to proscribed organisations or material which is at risk of drawing people into terrorism and/or poses a risk of inducing people into making the transition from extremism to terrorism and/or adversely affect the reputation of the University.
So they would have to show they didnt use the uni wi fi or internet otherwise I think they run into problems. Whats the likelihood that none of that used the unis IT? I dont see why it works better on paper than in practice.

4. You have to look at their bullying and cyberbullying policy. It did present the point of whether you can bully someone if the target never receives the information, although the complainants did eventually receive notice of what was said.

5. As for disrepute its the same on as Exeter. I think it will be whether the actions of the student have harmed the reputation of the university> I cant see how it has not? They are Warwick students and as such ambassadors for the uni. Same as the £50 boy at Cambridge. They have brought shame on the uni due to being students there and it now being all over the media.

How were these students not culpable? Their actions and no one force them to. Are you going back to it was private, because I dont think that stands it was their group and the information made it into the public domain. their responsibility. I dont see how the is was all banter is really going to protect them due to the persistent nature and it being at identifiable students expense. I find it surprising how easily you brush it off.

Will be interesting if we ever get to know what charges are brought.
Three people have already had their suspensions lifted, which doesnt surprise me along with I expect there to be a range of sanctions against the others.

The point is I dont think they are short of what misconduct charge they bring. I dont believe article 10 will give them as much protection as has been touted. Wait and see. Exeter did it in a month so would expect this is done in 6 weeks. Must be bizarre to be wrapped up in it.
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999tigger
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(Original post by Observatory)
There is an implicit assumption here that these comments attracted this response because they concerned violence or whatever. How many students have been similarly disciplined for advocating or "advocating" similar violence against bankers, Brexit voters, or the SNP? Is that because no such incidents have ever taken place?

These are political punishments designed to promote a certain ideology.
How many such occurrences have their been? How many complaints has there been from actual students? Perhaps women are fearful about rape and people who normalise or dismiss it?
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(Original post by 999tigger)
How many such occurrences have their been?
People wishing harm to any of those groups - I can find dozens of examples just on this board. Do you want to find out the real life identities of those people and get them expelled from university? Do you expect that they would be expelled?

How many complaints has there been from actual students? Perhaps women are fearful about rape and people who normalise or dismiss it?
I am sure you can find someone fearful about pretty much anything. Which complaints are actually likely to be pursued? If I wear a Che shirt, am I not normalising socialist violence against class enemies? The only difference is that it's OK to normalise socialist violence against class enemies.
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(Original post by Observatory)
People wishing harm to any of those groups - I can find dozens of examples just on this board. Do you want to find out the real life identities of those people and get them expelled from university? Do you expect that they would be expelled?


I am sure you can find someone fearful about pretty much anything. Which complaints are actually likely to be pursued? If I wear a Che shirt, am I not normalising socialist violence against class enemies? The only difference is that it's OK to normalise socialist violence against class enemies.
Except not the same thing as these are students at the same uni.
Made by students and directed at specific people.


TSR is anonymous, but

If you feel there are posts which have broken the rules, then you should report them and get them removed.

If that isnt enough then report them to the police. Knock yourself out.
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(Original post by Observatory)
People wishing harm to any of those groups - I can find dozens of examples just on this board. Do you want to find out the real life identities of those people and get them expelled from university? Do you expect that they would be expelled?


I am sure you can find someone fearful about pretty much anything. Which complaints are actually likely to be pursued? If I wear a Che shirt, am I not normalising socialist violence against class enemies? The only difference is that it's OK to normalise socialist violence against class enemies.
People on TSR don't know the people they say things to, and typically don't live by them

And I haven't seen anything like that posted and I've been on here for two years. Lot's of weird and troll posts, nothing advocating mass rape
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Except not the same thing as these are students at the same uni.
That's a ridiculous distinction.

Made by students and directed at specific people.
So you believe no university has a Marxist society that has ever privately wished harm on the chairman of the Conservative association?

TSR is anonymous, but

If you feel there are posts which have broken the rules, then you should report them and get them removed.

If that isnt enough then report them to the police. Knock yourself out.
I am not proposing a course of action I am asking you if you believe 1. that would be a reasonable thing to do and 2. it would be likely to result in any consequences for those involved. The answer to both questions is clearly no.
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999tigger
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(Original post by Observatory)
That's a ridiculous distinction.


So you believe no university has a Marxist society that has ever privately wished harm on the chairman of the Conservative association?


I am not proposing a course of action I am asking you if you believe 1. that would be a reasonable thing to do and 2. it would be likely to result in any consequences for those involved. The answer to both questions is clearly no.
In terms of enforcement it is the correct one.
Dude if you know of actual ploys by the marxist societies you monitor, then shouldnt you be going to the police?

You raised an issue and I told you how to go about solving it.

Cant say I have seen any angry bankers threads of late, but you seem well versed in the situation. How many have you actually reported and how many marxists have you caught?

Will leave you to your mission, so start rounding them up.
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(Original post by 999tigger)
In terms of enforcement it is the correct one.
Dude if you know of actual ploys by the marxist societies you monitor, then shouldnt you be going to the police?
The messages reported in the OP story didn't concern an "actual ploy". You think someone had an "actual ploy" to "rape 100s of girls"?

You raised an issue and I told you how to go about solving it.

Cant say I have seen any angry bankers threads of late, but you seem well versed in the situation. How many have you actually reported and how many marxists have you caught?

Will leave you to your mission, so start rounding them up.
You are floundering.
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I don't know what was specifically said, but given the ramifications, It's possible the students exercised their free speech In a particularly damaging and reckless way. If that's the case, I agree with the course of action.

Edit: All right, I took a look at the screenshots and disguising them as jokes (whether they were or not) should IMO not inhibit the consequences. It's frankly frightening to me that they were particularly casual about such talk.
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