Sheffield students probed over 'Planet of the Apes' racist joke claims

University bosses are probing claims that students made offensive racist jokes online which have sparked outrage among their peers.

Monday, 20th November 2017, 4:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 9:55 am
University of Sheffield.

The controversy centres on two pictures allegedly uploaded to a Facebook group chat by two undergraduates at the University of Sheffield.

Screenshots taken of the conversations show students discussing details about their course when one appears to post an image that compares the poster for the film ‘The Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ with one from the Black Lives Matter equal rights campaign.

Another student then sent an illustration from a children’s book about ‘Snigger the Monkey’.

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The posts sparked a backlash from other appalled members of the group chat and the matter was reported to the university via Twitter who replied that they would "look into" it.

A spokesperson for the university said they were aware of the allegations and "immediate action" has been taken to launch an internal investigation.

One student took to Twitter to say: "These guys need to be stopped. Why do they think it's okay to post this on a course group chat? Please Twitter do your worst."

Another, aged 19, who left the group chat in disgust, called the images “disrespectful” and “offensive.”

However, a source at the university said other students expressed that they felt the situation had been “blown out of proportion.”

She added it is understood heads of department at the university have held meetings with the students involved since the images were posted last Wednesday evening.

A university spokesperson said: "There is no place at Sheffield for racism and we are confident that the views of the two individuals in no way represent Sheffield students, who take pride in being part of a community with students from over 140 different countries and all ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds.

"Racism and xenophobia are abhorrent to staff and students and contradict our core values of mutual respect.

"As with any cases when a student's conduct is contrary to our disciplinary code, we will always take appropriate and timely disciplinary action."