Three-quarters of Sidney students voted to dismiss the frep Louis Ashworth

A Sidney Sussex freshers’ representative (frep) was dismissed after he re-added a friend who made classist comments in an offer-holders’ group chat.

The frep added his friend from first-year (Joe, not his real name), who wasn’t a frep, to the chat. Joe called an offer-holder a “filthy state school muggle” and said he knew where she went to school.

The frep re-added Joe after he was removed by another admin following the comments. 

A majority voted in a Sidney Sussex College students’ union (SSCSU) open meeting at the start of this month (6/3) to dismiss the frep over the affair.

In a committee meeting, the frep defended himself by claiming he had been advised by a previous admin to re-add Joe after he was removed. He also said that he was unclear about his role in managing the chat’s members, adding that he thought it was normal for chats to be managed in an “informal way”.

He told Varsity that he re-added Joe without seeing the offending messages, finding out what had been said the next morning, after the messages were sent to him.

He claimed that there were “999” unread messages when he opened his phone to find Joe removed, and assumed that it had been a mistake. Based on advice from his flatmate, who also ran last year’s group, he re-added Joe.

Offer-holders’ groups have been “awful for a long time”, he said. “Loads of first-years were in last year’s chat”, and students made up fake names and personas for fun.

Nevertheless, the frep admits he made a mistake and “commended” the motion.

Approximately three-quarters of students at an open meeting decided to support dismissal.

Minutes concluded that the frep had shown a “dereliction of duty in regards to his safeguarding responsibility…and potential enabling of predatory behaviour” by failing to remove Joe and then adding him back.

They said he hadn’t provided “credible” explanations for re-adding Joe to the group after he was removed, and that since the frep role is “centred around protecting the students and their welfare”, they believed the frep had “shown that he is unable to carry out his duties.”


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They also decided to “restructure” the way SSCSU deals and interacts with offer-holders.

The frep however alleged that he had been mistreated by SSCSU. He wasn’t allowed to make his case at the meeting where students voted for his dismissal, and says he didn’t have his case fairly presented by the committee.

Some voters also felt pressured into voting for dismissal, saying that senior SSCSU members could see who was in which voting queue and gave “death stares” to those who were voting against dismissal.

The president of SSCSU told Varsity: “At this time Sidney JCR considers this an internal matter which has been dealt with quickly and efficiently. Sidney students have been made aware of the situation and they have made an informed decision on the matter.”