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University of Southampton group spreadsheet vandalised with racist and homophobic slurs


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A group spreadsheet was vandalised with racist and homophobic slurs by students at Southampton University.

The incident after a lecturer sent out a topic selection assignment for a first year Computer Science module to approximately 250 students.

After discovering the vandalism, the spreadsheet was removed and the lecturer sent out an email with topic allocations:

"It seems that the idea of making a selection was too grown up for a small number of you who chose to deface and alter the document. I’ve closed the document and will allocate topics to you instead. I’m really sorry to the many of you who did a proper job.

"Like many of you, I was deeply upset by the behaviour of possibly just one student yesterday who went well beyond the realm of childish behaviour and decided to put racially and sexually offensive comments into our shared spreadsheet, and alter the content of the sheet.

"It was undignified and offensive. As a disciplinary offence, it is now outside of my hands. The University authorities are handling it."

The actions were originally dismissed as childish behaviour, however students who were part of the class and saw the document raised concerns with the University and the student union.

Southampton have opened a formal investigation with Professor Mark French leading it. He stated that the university are taking the matter seriously and that if a student is responsible, they will be referred to the University Discipline Committee, where termination of the student’s degree programme is a punishment that could be applied. 

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