A student union education officer has been suspended after posting highly offensive jokes about missing girl April Jones on Twitter.

Joey Guy, who is a full-time member of staff at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), posted the tweets via his personal account, which clearly states his position at the institution.

joey guy

Guy's Twitter personal account, which has since been deleted.

The student representative had even written an article for UCLan's student newspaper about the hunt for April just days prior to posting the "joke", which crudely referred to Mark Bridger and the missing girl. Bridger was later arrested and charged for the murder of the five-year-old.

Guy has also focused his comedic twitter attentions towards Jimmy Savile and his alleged victims, prompting outrage from students and members of the public.

President of the students' union Edward Graham-Hyde said the union strongly condemns the series of highly offensive tweets. In a statement posted on the student union website, he said:

"The comments were totally reprehensible and we find them both morally abhorrent and repugnant. We find his comments totally reprehensible and we do not support them professionally or personally."

Guy issued an apology saying the tweets were a mistake and he sincerely regretted the content of his Twitter account. "I ask for your forgiveness at this time and your understanding that this was a mistake and one I hope to rectify with my future actions," he said in a statement.

Despite the gravity of the incident, the story was run in the 16-page student paper on Page 11 under the "in other news" section. It had previously been scheduled to appear on page four.

uclan newspaper

The story as it appeared in student newspaper Pluto.

Students at the university, including Dewi Powell, have raised concerns over the decision to bury the story.

Speaking to The Huffington Post UK, Powell said: "Despite it being the biggest story at UCLan for a long while, yesterday's Pluto buried the story on page 11 (of 16) and didn't even mention that his Tweets were about April Jones and this is because the Student Union interfered, effectively censoring Pluto.

"The complexity of the situation comes with Pluto being funded by the union and edited by a union member but despite this, Pluto is supposed to be independent from the university, union and anyone else and it's supposed to hold all to account on university issues - including the union."

Read Dewi Powell's blog on UCLan Student Union's interference with the student newspaper

SU president Graham-Hyde did not comment on the latest decision to suspend Guy but had plenty to say on Twitter regarding the concern shown by the university's budding journalists:


Edward Graham-Hyde
I'm genuinely surprised at how angry and critical wannabe amateur journalists can be.

When asked by one student journalist who made the call to move the story, Graham-Hyde refused to answer:


Mike
It's a simple question. You were happy to answer them earlier, why not now? Was it the Union who moved the story?


Edward Graham-Hyde
I've answered what I can on twitter for now. Rest assured I'm dealing with the actual issue in question. I won't let you down.

A source at the university said Guy is paid around £17,000 for his position at the university, although this has not been confirmed. There are more than 30,000 students at UCLan and Guy won his election with 464 votes.

"His job appears vague and seems to be collecting and coordinating feedback on how to improve courses," the source told HuffPost UK.

Professor David Phoenix, deputy vice-chancellor, at UCLan said: 

"UCLan completely condemns the offensive tweets posted by the UCLan Students’ Union (SU) Education officer – we agree with the view expressed by the UCLan Student Union Student Affairs Committee that these twitter comments are totally reprehensible.

"The UCLan SU is a democratic body that exists independently from the university and therefore we are not involved in any decisions relating to this matter.  The university understands that the incident is being dealt with under the UCLan SU disciplinary procedures."