Students’ removal of Queen’s photo causes ire

Students’ removal of Queen’s photo causes ire

Students in the UK have caused a stir after voting to remove a photograph of the Queen from their university common room.

Postgraduate students at Magdalen College, Oxford, voted to take down the print, with minutes from the meeting noting that “for some students depictions of the monarch and the British monarchy represent recent colonial history.”

The move drew criticism from UK Education secretary Gavin Williamson, who tweeted: “Oxford university students removing a picture of the Queen is simply absurd. She is the head of state and a symbol of what is best about the UK. During her long reign she has worked tirelessly to promote British values of tolerance, inclusivity and respect around the world.”

In a swift response, Dinah Rose, the president of Magdalen College, defended the decision and wrote: “Here are some facts about Magdalen College and HM the Queen. The Middle Common Room is an organisation of graduate students. They don’t represent the College. A few years ago, in 2013 they bought a print of the Queen to decorate their common room.

“They recently voted to take it down. Both of these decisions are their own to take, not the College’s. Magdalen strongly supports free speech and political debate and the MCR’s right to autonomy.”

She added: “Being a student is about more than studying. It’s about exploring and debating ideas. It’s sometimes about provoking the older generation. Looks like that isn’t so hard to do these days.”

Rose also said the print would be safely stored in the event the students vote to put the print up once more.

Matthew Katzman, Magdalen’s MCR president, told the Daily Telegraph: “It has been taken down. It was decided to leave the common room neutral. That was what this was about. The college will have plenty of depictions of various things but the common room is meant to be a space for all to feel welcome.” 

Image: Magdalen College, Theroyalfamily / Instagram

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