Gym boss fired for saying 'women should be raped for not showing up to class'
A university gym boss has been dismissed for sending a message implying that women who miss fitness classes should be "raped".
Ross Brain sent the message in a WhatsApp group to his co-workers at Edinburgh University Sports and Exercise Club, discussing potential punishment for an unidentified woman who had skipped an exercise class. "Lets rape her. Or give her the choice of 600 burpees or rape," reads the message allegedly sent by Brain.
The University of Edinburgh sacked the gym employee without notice, after over 800 students signed an open letter to principal and vice-chancellor, Pete Mathieson, demanding his termination.
Students at the university were angered at the response to the alleged misconduct - which reportedly occurred in January - saying that their institution's "zero-tolerance" policy had not been "translated into action".
While the university did not issue comment at the time, it has emerged that Brain was let go on Wednesday.
The open letter asserted that both the student body and staff felt "unwelcome, unsafe and unsatisfied" with the university's initial response to the purported incident. Rosie Taylor, a second year biological sciences student - who contacted the university's principal - criticised the institution's lack of transparency about the matter, and the speed of their response.
"This issue is not limited to one individual, or one message, it is a systemic failure to create, implement and uphold transparent or truly zero-tolerance policies to sexual harassment and violence. This case, which began in January, should not have required student intervention in order to reach a satisfactory conclusion. Whilst the University of Edinburgh is loud and proud in appearing to support the #NoExcuse campaign, this has not been translated to action," the 21-year-old stated.
The Director of Sport and Exercise, Jim Aitken has since released the following statement:
"The official investigation has concluded and that Ross Brain has been dismissed from his post as Gym Manager with immediate effect."
"We are aware of the letter and are engaging with student representatives on the matter. We want to assure our students and staff that we take incidents such as this very seriously – the use of such language is abhorrent and has no place in this university. We do not, however, comment on the detail or outcome of individual cases," a spokesman for the University of Edinburgh added.