University of Exeter at centre of sex scandal after CCTV footage posted online
An investigation has been launched at a Devon university after CCTV footage was leaked showing students engaged in sexual activity during an event intended to promote safe sex.
The video was filmed in the student bar at the University of Exeter during the Safer Sex Ball. A CCTV camera in the Ram bar caught the incident on tape and the footage was subsequently recorded on a smart phone and went viral on the internet.
The Students' Guild at the Russell Group university has promised a full investigation.
Devon and Cornwall Police said that those responsible for the leaked footage may have broken the law. It added that those involved in the sexual activity may also have committed an offence.
A Guild spokesman said: "The Students' Guild recognises that confidential CCTV footage has been filmed without our permission. The Guild is making sure the affected parties will be supported during this difficult time," the spokesman said.
"Measures were in place to provide high levels of security, but we are aware that irresponsible behaviour has taken place and we are working hard to rectify the situation.
"A full investigation is underway in which action proportionate to the seriousness of the situation will be taken."
A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said: "Putting CCTV footage on the internet without permission could contravene the law. That would namely be data protection laws and human rights legislation – the right to privacy."
"Engaging in sexual activity in a public place could also constitute an offence, depending on the form of sexual activity. But we would have to see the footage in question to officially comment on the incident itself."
Hundreds of students, stripped to just their underwear, went to the late-night ball in December where they were handed free contraception.
Before the event organisers came under fire for choosing a "tribal" theme – dubbed racist by some students. Dozens of academics and university staff signed a petition by a group of students protesting against the theme and calling for a public apology to those who had allegedly been offended.
Numerous students are thought to have watched the leaked footage since the New Year. Students have described it as "the video everyone is talking about".
One male student said he was very concerned that... "people can go into the monitor rooms and put footage of us all at university on the internet".
The charity ball has been running for more than 20 years and is now one of the country's biggest Aids awareness events – raising thousands of pounds each year for charity.