There have been claims that a group of soon-to-be freshers at the top institution made plans online to hold a competition for “posh lads” to have sex with the “poorest girl on campus”.
Fellow students alerted university authorities to the group, called “Durham Boys Making All The Noise”, after a selection of its messages were leaked, student news site The Tab reported.
One student wrote: “I hope you're aware that there's a freshers 'lads' group chat with loads of boys discussing ways to use date rape drugs on girls, discussing them like objects and making plans to 'shag the poorest girl'. Disgusting.”
Another group chat also discussed rape.
The Tab claimed the website has seen screenshots from one chat which show posts with comments including: "It's called being a whore" and “can't get enough since girls don't put out."
The university is set to welcome students back on September 28.
Pro-vice-chancellor Jeremy Cook told The Times the university “utterly condemns the content and behaviour demonstrated in these social media posts”.
The university has launched an investigation into the posts and has said it will “ take action to ensure that those involved will have no place at Durham University”.
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Mr Cook said: "The university has been made aware of some utterly abhorrent comments on social media that we understand may have been posted by Durham students.
"Durham University utterly condemns the content and behaviour demonstrated in these social media posts. This is entirely unacceptable and violates the values and behaviours that we uphold as a university community.
"We instigated an immediate investigation by our student disciplinary team as soon as we were made aware of these social media posts. If these posts are found to be genuine and attributable, we will take action to ensure that those involved will have no place at Durham University."