Indian-origin student expelled from British university for stalkingtext_fields
On Thursday, 22 year-old Indian-origin student was found guilty of stalking and expelled from the Oxford Brookes University where he studied. Sahil Bhavnani was handed a suspended sentence by the Oxford Crown Court and is due to leave for Hong Kong with his father shortly.
Bhavnani admitted to stalking and harassing a nursing student at the University in September although he was only expelled this month. His victim is not calling for reforms to the university's policies and response to sexual harassment which she told the BBC, were inadequate and had 'failed' her.
This was due to the university's policies which detailed that no parallel process could be undertaken until the criminal probe was finished in an attempt to provide fair rights to the accused.
The 26 year-old nursing student had testified to months of stalking and harassment that she endured from 2020 onwards including, unwanted gifts, a 100 page letter detailing Bhavnani's threats to kidnap, beat and starve her as well as dozens of voice messages. Despite complaining to the university, their action was delayed and she lived in fear of him potentially sexually assaulting her, she told the BBC.
Bhavnani even violated a restraining order and turned up at her house one day, after which he was arrested.
"It was terrifying, because he didn't seem to understand that he was obsessed, and I felt at times he had opportunities where he could try to do those things," she said. In contrast, the police treated the threats seriously from the outset, and provided outstanding support.
In a statement, Oxford Brookes University said it wanted to reassure students that it took "reports of harassment, violence or abuse very seriously" and that it was in contact with the victim and her representatives to work out issues. "In this individual case, following a university conduct hearing, the most severe penalty available was applied by the University and the student was expelled from Oxford Brookes," it said.
"We remain committed to a zero tolerance approach to any violent, abusive or harassing behaviours, and the penalty we have applied demonstrates that we will not accept behaviour that threatens the safety of members of our community," the statement added.