#NoExcuse ... Unless You’re on the Payroll

#NoExcuse ... Unless You’re on the Payroll

Please note: Ross Brain has now been dismissed from his role with immediate effect.

Edinburgh University is an advocate for zero tolerance on sexual harassment and sexual assault, however in December 2018 a senior gym instructor of the University gym ‘Pleasance,’ sent a shocking message to the staff group chat. When a woman booked in for a slot at the gym and did not show the next day, the staff discussed a way in which to discipline the client, so she doesn’t waste their time again. Mr Ross Brain stated in the group chat ‘lets rape her. Or give her the choice of 600 burpees or rape.’ When his comment was ignored, Ross followed up by saying ‘no one up for this then?’

As a student at the university and as a member of the Pleasance gym, these remarks are not only disgusting but also worrying. Back in January, Felix Beck, an undergraduate at the University, was jailed for carrying out a ‘callous’ sexual assault on a teenager during his time at the university. With this harrowing assault taking place while Felix’s was at the university it is no surprise that there have been a lot of voices surrounding sexual assault. With the growth of the #NoExcuse movement here on the campus it is astonishing that the university seems to have not only brushed this incident under the rug, they have done very little to resolve this matter.

The public became aware of the Ross Brain situation on the 22/04/19, almost four months after the incident took place. If the university is such an advocate for providing a safe environment for their students and having a strict zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment and sexual assault it is astonishing to discover that this incident has had little to no consequences so far.

By allowing this man to continue to work at the University of Edinburgh gym, the University itself is not only setting a bad example, but they are also allowing these forms of ‘jokes’ to go unquestioned. By allowing people to ‘joke’ about sexual harassment/assault we are saying that these jokes are okay, and that sexual harassment and assault are things that the University does not concern itself with. Knowing that he is working within the facility is an uncomfortable feeling, not only for the students but also for other staff; some female staff at the Pleasance gym have discussed quitting their jobs because of the lack of action taken with regards to this situation.

As members of the University and of wider society in Edinburgh, it is important that our voices are heard. To know that someone is still working for the University after making such disgusting and shocking remarks is not only horrific but concerning. No one should be able to ‘joke’ about rape or sexual harassment/assault and be able to go back to their job unscathed.

If you would like to get involved and tell the University of Edinburgh how you feel about members of their staff making ‘joking’ remarks about rape and sexual harassment then please do not hesitate to email the Principal of the University at principal@ed.ac.uk and also the University Secretary Sarah Smith at s.j.smith@ed.ac.uk.

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