UCD inquiry into alleged ‘revenge porn’ image sharing

Up to 200 students reportedly members of private Facebook group used to share content

In a statement, UCD said: “Following the appearance of an article in a student newspaper, the university has launched an investigation into the alleged behaviour of a group of students on a Facebook groupchat.”

In a statement, UCD said: “Following the appearance of an article in a student newspaper, the university has launched an investigation into the alleged behaviour of a group of students on a Facebook groupchat.”

 

An investigation is under way at University College Dublin following reports that male students allegedly shared explicit images of women they had sexual relations with.

UCD’s student newspaper, the College Tribune, reported that up to 200 students are members of a private Facebook group used to share stories about and rate photos of young women.

A spokeswoman for UCD confirmed it is investigating the alleged behaviour.

In a statement, UCD said: “The university expects each and every one of its students to respect the dignity of all others at all times and in all circumstances.

“Following the appearance of an article in a student newspaper, the university has launched an investigation into the alleged behaviour of a group of students on a Facebook groupchat.

‘Matter of urgency’

“The university is doing everything it can to establish the facts around the existence of this Facebook group. This includes contacting all students in the faculty and asking anyone who has any information to come forward in confidence as a matter of urgency.

“Breaches of the student code may result in sanctions up to and including expulsion from the university.”

A post on the UCD students’ union Facebook page signed by UCD student leaders Marcus O’Halloran and Hazel Beattie has condemned the alleged sharing of photos without the consent of women allegedly involved.

The Facebook post reads: “We completely condemn this behaviour and anyone who engages in it; it is sexual violence.

“We requested the College Tribune inform an Garda Síochána immediately upon media queries to us which suggested they might have evidence of a revenge porn ring.

“We continue to request that they forward on all evidence to the police and would encourage anyone who has evidence of revenge porn to do the same.

“While legislation has yet to be put forward which specifically addresses revenge porn in Ireland, the police are still the most relevant authority to act on evidence of this activity.”

Consent campaign

They added: “University management have assured us of their full support for our campus-wide consent campaign and, following fundraising efforts for the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre this week, we will be inviting students to participate in consent workshops as part of our year-long campaign.

“In the absence of a legal statutory definition for sexual consent, we will continue to clearly clarify it as something which can only be communicated, never assumed.”

The private Facebook chat group that allegedly shared the images came to the College Tribune’s attention through messaging app Yik Yak.

Yik Yak’s main feature is allowing people to send short messages known as “yaks” anonymously to people in the same area.

The app uses geo-location tools to limit user interactions to others within a small radius, making it popular on college campuses.

A spokesman for the Garda Press Office said anyone who has had photos used without their consent or has information about the group should contact gardaí.