University student faces investigation after attending party dressed as Holocaust victim 

Student wore striped pyjamas to fancy dress event and had numbers 38451 pinned to his chest

Premium

A university student faces an investigation after attending a party dressed as a Holocaust victim from a concentration camp.

Sam Farrell, the Student Union (SU) president-elect at Edge Hill University in Lancashire, wore striped pyjamas, with the numbers 38451 pinned to his chest, to the fancy dress event last year. He also wore a skin-coloured cap over his head to make it look as though his hair had been shaved off.

He posted photographs of himself on social media in his Holocaust costume with the caption: "In dire need of a shower after last night's social #gassed."

The university's SU has opened a disciplinary investigation into the student, who has since apologised for his choice of outfit and language.

"We do not underestimate the severity of this situation and the harm that the SU President-elect's actions have caused," a spokesman said, adding that all incoming student union officers will now receive anti-Semitism training as part of their induction.

A Jewish student at Edge Hill University said: "It makes me sad that other university students don't see that as enough to stop them voting for him [as SU president].

"The SU have said that they punished him, but I don't see how they can have allowed him to run for president after dressing up as a Holocaust victim."

Karen Pollock, the chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: "I'm lost for words. This is shocking. Who can think it is ok to dress up as a Holocaust victim and pose laughing for the camera? How this person can be deemed fit to be in any position of responsibility is beyond me."

The Union of Jewish Students said it was "extremely concerned" that the next Edge Hill SU president "decided to dress up as a Holocaust victim and joke about it on social media".

Mr Farrell said:  "Unfortunately my past actions are something I can never take back, and I hope that my sincere apology can be enough to be offered a second chance. Given that chance, I will work tirelessly to better myself and create positive change for all students across the university."

A spokesman for Edge Hill University said Mr Farrell's conduct had been "deeply abhorrent" and added: "While the Students' Union is a wholly independent organisation, responsible for the election and appointment of its officers, the University will not tolerate behaviour of this kind and will not hesitate to use its own procedures if necessary."