Exeter University has expelled students over a series of racist messages in a private WhatsApp group.
Vice-Chancellor Sir Steve Smith said the “completely unacceptable racist, sexist and bigoted behaviour” had resulted in “expulsions, suspensions and other significant sanctions”, in a letter to students on Tuesday.
Screenshots said to be from the group, which included law students and members of the university’s Bracton Law Society (BLS), appear to reveal a deluge of racist abuse, with one message claiming: “This is why we need a race war”.
Other screenshots sent in the group read: “If they’re black, send ’em back” and “If you ain’t English, go home”.
The phrase “Bomb the mosques” also appeared in the group. Another referred to Sadiq Khan as a “cancer”.
Smith said in his letter: “For those students who have been expelled, these are very severe consequences, which have not been reached lightly, but there is no place in our university for any type of racist, bigoted, abusive or harassing behaviour and we will take action wherever we find it.”
Undergraduate Arsalan Motavali, who was a member of the group “to collect evidence”, tweeted in response to the expulsions: “Can’t thank everybody who showed support enough, from all the media teams to the heroes of Twitter, you’re the best.”
Smith added the university had established a “Provost Commission” to fight racism and hatred on campus.
He added the WhatsApp group messages were “fundamentally at odds with the commitment to inclusivity, tolerance and respect that lies at the heart of everything we stand for”.