Student asked to apologise over Freshers’ week article

Nov 20

A student, writing for Nottingham University’s student magazine, Impact, has been asked to apologise to University staff over comments published in a recent article.

The piece, appears in the latest issue and details Gabby DeMatteis experiences as a Week One rep for Florence Boot hall, helping freshers to make the most of their first week at university.

As all students at Nottingham will know, there’s a lot of banter between different halls with friendly rivalry fuelled by the chants and songs lead by the reps, but it’s all done in good humour and builds the camaraderie for newly initiated freshers.

Unfortunately some of the comments in the article, which include ‘I’m constantly dreaming up new ways to deface property belonging to Rutland Hall’ and ‘ If I was allowed to, I would say that I thought that the man in question’s act of vandalism was brilliant. But I’m not. So I won’t.’ have upset staff at Rutland Hall and Gabby was asked to formerly apologise at a meeting earlier this week. She said: “Everything I wrote was intended in humour and in the spirit of Week One and wasn’t intended to offend anyone. It was completely tongue in cheek and in no way did I mean to condone any actual acts of vandalism be carried out on any hall.

“Looking back at it now I should’ve been more careful and I will be more careful in the future, but I didn’t think that it would have offended anyone otherwise I wouldn’t have written it.”

Following the meeting staff have decided not to take further action and the issue has been laid to rest.

Earlier today I spoke to James Sanderson, Editor-in-Chief at Impact:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

In reaction to the events surrounding the article, Nottingham University issued this statement:

“The University does not comment on individual disciplinary proceedings, and we take seriously our responsibility to protect students’ confidentiality. However, when the University becomes aware of any misconducts, through any medium, it is our responsibility to investigate these incidents.”

Dave Hind is the Student’s Union (SU) Democracy and Communications Officer at the University. He said “there are numerous editorial processes that articles have to go through before they are published on various different levels. Impact deal with every aspect of the article apart from libel. When the SU looks over it we look over it for libel and the rest is left to the Impact team.

“I don’t make the decision on if things should be censored based on how it sounds. If there was something in the article that was potentially untrue, that’s when we would raise out concerns. But anything else that’s not libel it is not our responsibility to raise issues. That’s up to Impact.

“The SU’s policy on offensive material is that we don’t publish it. But with Impact and other Student Run Services it’s a different story as they’re all independent mini organisations inside us. We try not to micro-manage on whether something is offensive – as long as what is said is not illegal, it’s fine.”

The SU policy on freedom of speech states that: ‘This Union believes that the freedom of expression is a fundamental human right’ and in light of this, Dave finished by warning all Student Run Services to be thoughtful about everything they publish or say in live broadcast.

Leave a Reply