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Three students thrown out of St Andrews University for alleged sexual misconduct

A summer graduation at St Andrews University.
A summer graduation at St Andrews University.

Three students have been thrown out of St Andrews University and 20 have been disciplined following allegations of sexual misconduct in the last five years.

However, none of the 42 complaints brought to the attention of university bosses in that period were reported to police.

Officers are urging people who have been the victim of a sexual offence of any kind during their time at the Fife institution to come forward after The Courier obtained the figures in a freedom of information request.

It comes as Police Scotland continues to probe online reports which emerged over the summer highlighting dozens of allegations of serious sexual assault and rape.

The Freedom of Information request has confirmed that a total of 20 students have been disciplined by St Andrews University since 2016 following allegations of sexual misconduct.

Three were thrown out of the university after having their studies terminated.

Cases of alleged sexual misconduct have also been on the rise over the last five years, going from one in 2015/16, nine in 2016/17 and 10 in 2017/18 to 11 in each of the last two years,.

The increases may be linked to the university introducing a new policy in 2016 amid concerns instances were being under-reported.

A St Andrews University spokesperson said it was for individuals to report complaints to the police.

“In each case the person who alleged they had been assaulted decided not to report the matter to police, although in every case the university offers full support, whether the individual decides to report or not.

“Universities cannot report matters such as this to the police without the permission or instruction of the student.”

The figures come to light just months after an Instagram account called St Andrews Survivors posted more than 20 allegations about sexual misconduct at the university, with many claiming members of a fraternity at St Andrews University carried out the attacks.

‘Students are often less than six degrees of separation from sexual violence’ – St Andrews Survivors group says campus ‘rape culture’ needs to be addressed

The fraternity later confirmed in a statement that several of its members had been suspended following the allegations and said it would conduct a thorough investigation.

Detective Inspector Kelly McEwan, of Police Scotland’s Fife Division Public Protection Unit, said officers had made contact with online groups including St Andrews Survivors.

She urged anyone who believes they have been a victim of a sexual crime to report it either directly to police, through the charity Crimestoppers or via Rape Crisis Scotland.

“Tackling this kind of crime is a priority and reports of sexual offences are treated with sensitivity and professionalism with victims being supported by specialist officers,” she said.

“We will listen to all reports made to us and they will all be thoroughly investigated.”

Local community inspector Yvonne Stenhouse said: “Our partnership working with the University of St Andrews aims to reach out to students, many of whom will have left home for the first time and give them advice to stay safe while studying and living in the town.

“Part of this is raising awareness that any type of sexual crime is not acceptable and the ways in which anyone who has experienced this can report.”

None of the 42 allegations highlighted in the five-year period were against members of staff.

All were investigated formally under the university’s disciplinary procedures.

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