Club presidents Tiarnan and Hermione have apologised after a series of messages posted under a private Twitter account described how a member loved “stabbing black people” and that “rape [was] still sex, it counts.”
One of the tweets, posted on 19 October, read: “I’m going to Hindu hell aka Al-Qaeda.”
And another, posted on the 18 June, said: “Why would you have morales with objects? #women.” (sic)
Another tweet, from the 4 October, describes a student as having “#chinkeye”, to which a follower responds: “he isn’t allowed to join the club.” (sic)
A further tweet goes on to say: “you think your iniatation is over! I may just rape her”
Most of the 581 posts under the @UyhcSocSecs account have the person’s initials who have allegedly said the statement in real life. At the request of the whistle-blower, we have chosen not to publish these.
York Vision understands that the social media account was run by the club’s social secretaries and also members of the society.
It was followed by 80 people after being created in May 2014.
Anaïs Pedica, a postgraduate sociology student, said: “This is a clear example of how ‘lad culture’ fosters sexist, racist and xenophobic attitudes and behaviours and the very reason why it is important for the university and student unions to take this issue seriously.
“This is not to say that all lads are sexist, racist and xenophobic but that those kinds of attitudes thrive in this culture.
“Clearly, these attitudes can have an extremely damaging impact on the various groups of people mentioned.”
Megan Ollerhead, a fourth year English literature student, added: “Those tweets were hurtful, unfunny and unnecessary, and they go a long way to damaging people’s perceptions of team sport at York, which is a shame.
“University sport should be something fun that everybody can take part in without being afraid of comments like that.”
YUSU President Sam Maguire said an urgent investigation into the matter had been launched.
It’s understood that senior university officials met with the students’ union on Monday to discuss the incident after they were alerted by York Vision.
A university spokesman described the messages on the account as “wholly unacceptable”.
“In consultation with the University, YUSU is conducting an investigation with a view to disciplinary action against the individuals responsible and, potentially, the club,” they said.
As of Sunday evening, the account appears to no longer be accessible on social media.
It was set to private, meaning only those users who have had their request approved could see what they were posting.
Among its followers were the official University of York Hockey Club Twitter page.
In a statement, the club’s presidents said they were following the account to make sure it was never “affiliated with the UYHC” or “represented” its views. “We strongly believe that the private account was not created to upset or offend anyone and although on several occasions we asked the private account to tone down the content of their tweets, this has not happened,” they said.
“The statements on this account are wholly unacceptable and the account has been shut down and action will be taken against the responsible parties.
“We want to give our sincerest apologies that this has happened. The views of four of our members by no means represents the views of the club, but as a club we will try our hardest to rectify the situation and move forward together.”