After public outcry, Zhejiang University expels student convicted of rape

Society & Culture

Zhejiang University (ZJU), one of the most prestigious institutions in China, has expelled a male student who was allowed to remain enrolled despite a conviction for sexually assaulting a woman.

Zhejiang University (ZJU), one of the most prestigious institutions in China, has expelled a male student who was allowed to remain enrolled despite a conviction for sexually assaulting a woman.

The college’s decision comes nearly two weeks after it announced the suspension of the offender, a senior-year student surnamed Nǔ 努. Since the initial penalty was made public, the school has been under intense criticism and scrutiny for what many saw as a lax punishment.

According to a statement (in Chinese) issued by the university on July 31, the school’s student disciplinary committee reached the decision after a “thorough and careful” discussion. “Zhejiang University is a school known for its excellent academic atmosphere and strict discipline. We always treat students who violate regulations with the utmost gravity regardless of their backgrounds,” the statement reads.

The university said that since the controversy erupted, it had received multiple reports from ZJU students about Nu’s inappropriate behavior on campus. After a comprehensive investigation that involved talking to people with complaints and Nu himself, it decided to expel the student because he had broken the university’s student code of conduct. However, the statement did not clarify what specific rules Nu has violated.

In April, a court in Hangzhou handed down an 18-month suspended sentence to Nu on charges of rape. The university faced a fierce backlash online after it announced that it would allow the offender to continue his study after a one-year suspension.

At first, the university defended its decision of suspending rather than expelling Nu, saying that it was in line with the school’s guidelines on student conduct. But after several ZJU students came forward with sexual assault complaints against Nu, the school launched a follow-up investigation, which resulted in the expulsion.