April 22, 2024

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The Madrid Prosecutor’s Office has agreed to archive the investigative proceedings opened against a student from the Elías Ahuja student residence in Madrid for the sexist screams launched on the night of October 2, 2022 at the residents of the adjacent Santa Mónica female residence hall, according to reported this Wednesday the public ministry. The proceedings were opened as a result of a complaint from the Movement against Intolerance considering that the facts could constitute a hate crime.

The circumstance occurs that the law of only yes is yes, which regulates this type of conduct, entered into force the following Friday, October 7. This norm punishes those who address another person with expressions, behaviors or propositions of a sexual nature that create an objectively humiliating, hostile or intimidating situation for the victim, without constituting other more serious crimes.

In February, the student who started the chants that soon went viral ―“Whores, come out of your burrows like rabbits, you are nymphomaniac whores, I promise you will all fuck in the capea! Let’s go, Ahuja!”—, joined by the rest of the students pretending to be animals with their noises, told the prosecutor that the shouting at her neighbors in Santa Mónica—many of them family members—were “a joke” that continued “a tradition”, denying that his intention was to humiliate the girls. The scene, which is known as La Granja, was repeated every year and the schoolgirls did not feel attacked. “If they call me a whore or a nymphomaniac on the street, of course I’m offended, but they are our friends,” a young woman stressed to this newspaper.

The chief prosecutor did not appreciate after the investigation “any link with extremist groups or movements” before or after the student who started some chants that he calls “profane and lewd.” And he affirms in his proceedings that the residence hall had not been able to “identify the students who were in the facilities at that time because the authorization system for night outings is enabled for the entire school year.” Nor to those who recorded the images that soon went viral.

The prosecutor’s archive decree maintains that the facts are “disrespectful and insulting to women” and the expressions used constitute “an attack on their individual or collective dignity.” However, they cannot by themselves constitute a hate crime under article 510.2 of the Penal Code, since this crime requires the concurrence of a specific discriminatory motivation, which has not been proven in the investigation by previous, contemporary or subsequent events. to the accused. According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the investigated action cannot be classified as a crime against moral integrity either because for this it is necessary that one of the recipients of the expressions had felt offended and “there is no record that none of the women who were in the residence has denounced the facts”.

Although the conduct of the schoolboys was condemned by the entire political arc, the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, then stood out by criticizing the Prosecutor’s Office: “What surprises me, above all, is that the Prosecutor’s Office is to investigate this, while at the University, over the years, we have seen on numerous occasions banners in favor of ETA prisoners, we have seen how teachers and students have been harassed and set up escraches, preventing free lectures, or persecuting For example, to the students of It’s over so that they cannot go freely to their university, to the faculty in Catalonia”.

Changes in university law

The Ahuja macho incident has not been reduced to the subject of debate in the media for days. At the initiative of Más País, the Organic Law of the University System includes an article that obliges the halls of residence ―supposedly they are not just accommodation, but also train university students― to be mixed if they do not want to be expelled from the public network. If they continue to segregate, they will become private residences, which reduces their prestige. Publicly owned schools have not separated for a long time, and in private ones such as Ahuja the process is taking longer.

In the debates of the recent elections for rector of the Complutense, as it could not be otherwise ―it has been one of his last reputational blows―, the canon that the Augustinians pay to the university as consideration for having the school in their land: 60,000 euros a year. A small amount if one takes into account that each of the 174 schoolboys pays 1,200 euros a month for nine months (1.87 million). And this account does not include the summer stays of other guests. “In the residence halls that were not paid before, now they are paid,” reasoned the rector Joaquín Goyache in conversation with this newspaper. “If you go to the transparency portal, you see that there are university residences that pay close to 500,000 euros and other colleges that are around 200,000 euros,” added the then candidate for rector Esther del Campo.

Justice has archived the case and the punishment has also been very light at school for the student from the Autonomous University of Madrid who started the chants. Although the management of the center had announced to the media that his expulsion would be final, he later backed down. “The center’s regulations for these events provide for a 15-day expulsion. The school extended it up to 40 days and withdrew an honorary scholarship from the schoolboy that he had (…) The highest sanction possible according to the regulations has been imposed, ”he assured this newspaper. However, the schoolboy, overwhelmed by his notoriety, chose to alternate his stay between his residence and a friend’s house in the capital.

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