Law student admits chanting 'we hate the blacks' to another student in Nottingham Trent University halls

Eleanor Busby
Joe Tivnan 19, leaves Nottingham Magistrates' Court, where he pleaded guilty to racially or religiously aggravated harassment: PA

A law student who was captured on video making racist chants in student halls has pleaded guilty.

Joe Tivnan, 19, will pay £500 compensation to Nottingham Trent University student Rufaro Chisango after his racist chanting was described as “disgusting, shocking and disgraceful”.

Tivan, from Birmingham, pleaded guilty at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court today to racially or religiously aggravated harassment, after a video of the chanting went viral.

Fellow student Rufaro Chisango posted footage she recorded on social media in March – which included chants of “We hate the blacks” and “Sign the Brexit papers”.

The 19-year-old law student admitted to using threatening or abusive words which caused distress to fellow Ms Chisango.

Tivan made an “unreserved” apology to anyone affected by his behaviour and said he was “truly sorry” for the distress he had caused.

District Judge Leo Pyle told Tivan: “You went off to continue your evening and this woman was too frightened to even leave her room.

Rufaro Chisango, a student at Nottingham Trent University, was subjected to racist abuse (Rufaro Chisango/Twitter)

“These words were described by other students as shocking, disgusting, appalling and disgraceful. It was entirely understandable that she felt what was being chanted was being aimed at her.”

The defendant’s co-accused, Lauren Leigh, 19, pleaded not guilty to an offence in connection to the same incident and was granted unconditional bail until her trial on 19 July.

Ms Chisango, who posted the video on Twitter, tweeted at the time: “Words cannot describe how sad this makes me feel, in this 2018 people think this is still acceptable.”

Nottingham Trent University suspended the accused students following an investigation.

There have been a number of reports of racist incidents at universities in recent months.

Earlier this month, law students who allegedly made racist comments were expelled by the University of Exeter after private WhatsApp conversations were shared on Facebook.

And a group of students who reportedly made jokes about rape and used racial slurs were suspended by the University of Warwick after private Facebook messages came to light.

Meanwhile, Sheffield Hallam University launched an investigation after a black student was allegedly called a monkey by staff.

The incident came after a banana was reportedly thrown at a black Sheffield Hallam graduate during an ice hockey match between his alma mater and city rivals, the University of Sheffield.

Additional reporting by PA