Glasgow uni sexism row students cleared of charges

A hearing at Glasgow University ruled that Sibbald and Baxter had no case to answer. Picture: PA
A hearing at Glasgow University ruled that Sibbald and Baxter had no case to answer. Picture: PA
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TWO students at a Scottish university embroiled in a sexism row have been cleared of all charges after a disciplinary hearing ruled that they had no case to answer.

Glasgow university undergraduates Chris Sibbald - a former president of the university’s Student Union - and politics student Paddy Baxter had vehemently denied claims that they had verbally abused Cambridge University student Rebecca Meredith and Marlena Valles from Edinburgh University during the institution’s annual Glasgow Ancients debating contest in March of this year.

At a hearing earlier this week, the two Glasgow students were informed that they had not been found guilty of any wrongdoing.

However, Miss Meredith and Miss Valles have accused the inquiry of being ‘unbalanced,’ and have lodged a further complaint with the university.

In a joint statement, the two women claim that both defendants had legal representation, but Misis Valles did not.

The statement continues: “Thus one side had top QCs, hired by the defendants, while we had no legal representation at all.

“Under such unbalanced circumstances, it is unsurprising an incorrect verdict has been reached.”

The complaint also alleges that Miss Meredith was unable to attend the hearing due to sitting her final exams, along with other ‘key witnesses.’

It is also claimed that no effort was made by Glasgow University to reschedule the hearing for a time when all the witnesses could attend.

Additionally, the two students complained that witnesses for the prosecution had been informed they could submit anonymous statements, which the university then revoked, throwing out statements claiming to have witness sexism in the institution’s union.

The two allege that they were victims of ‘misogynistic’ interruptions by audience members attending the debate. The comments centred on their clothes and their appearance, with Miss Valles claiming that someone shouted ‘Get that woman out of my chamber’ whilst she was on stage.

President of the University and College Union (UCU) Scotland campaign group Dave Anderson, said that his organisation ‘deplored’ the recent events, adding: “We are dismayed that the Glasgow University Senate has not condemned the sexist actions that took place during the debate.”

Caroline Moore, from the university’s Feminist Society added: “These boys have managed to avoid the consequences of their actions - where there were eye-witnesses, audio evidence, and even personal admissions on social media.”

Despite the outcome, an independent inquiry into sexist behaviour at the union will be conducted.

A university spokesman said he was unable to disclose the outcome of any hearing, adding: “The evidence was taken in accordance with our established rules, and all witnesses were afforded the same opportunity to submit statements to the hearing in advance.”