Cambridge student avoids expulsion for burning £20 in front of homeless man

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A Cambridge University student who sparked fury for burning a £20 note in front of a homeless man and claimed he was a relative of Nicola Sturgeon will not be expelled, it has been revealed.

The university came under pressure to expel law student Ronald Coyne, 19, after a video of him taunting the rough sleeper dressed in a bow tie and coat-tails went viral.

Ronald Coyne was caught burning notes in front of a homeless man. Picture: Cambridge University Conservative Association

Ronald Coyne was caught burning notes in front of a homeless man. Picture: Cambridge University Conservative Association

But he kept his place at Pembroke College after writing a public apology saying he had been threatened with chemical attacks after he “forgot what it really meant to study at Cambridge”.

READ MORE: Sturgeon denies link to Tory student who taunted homeless man

He was promptly expelled from the Cambridge University Conservative Association after his disgraceful behaviour in the early hours of February 2 caused a national furore.

It was likened to the initiation rites of Oxford University’s notorious Bullingdon Club attended by Boris Johnson and ex-PM David Cameron.

More than 23,000 people signed a petition to ‘Remove Ronald Coyne from Cambridge University’.

But bosses at the historic university have repeatedly refused to confirm or deny if disciplinary action would be taken against the first-year student.

Now Mr Coyne’s college has shared his letter of apology to its students in a bid to “generate support for Ronald as he prepares to return to College.”

Mr Coyne, a distant relative of Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, wrote: “My actions were wrong and without thought or consideration. I abused my privilege as a student at such a great university, and behaved in a way which is totally contrary to the values of the university and of its students.

“My experience of Cambridge was of a place which is positive, accepting, and friendly. Yet on that evening, I forgot what it really meant to study at Cambridge. I misrepresented what it meant to be a student here.

“When the media commentary flared up, strangers sent piles of abusive mail to my family home threatening me with violence, and chemical attacks.

“I have addressed the root causes of my behaviour by attending awareness classes, relating to both alcohol and social inclusion.

“Until now, there had been an ongoing disciplinary process on a university and college level which had meant I couldn’t respond publicly. Now that these processes have concluded, I am setting out to try to remedy some of the hurt caused by my actions.”