The President of an Oxford college defends the right to remove the Queen’s photo but Gavin Williamson called the move by postgraduate students at Magdalen College “absurd”.
The president of Magdalen College, Oxford, has defended her students’ right to remove a photograph of the Queen from their common room. But Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, slammed the idea as “absurd”.
Members of the college’s middle common room (MCR), which is only to post-grad students, voted to take down the print saying “for some students depictions of the monarch and the British monarchy represent recent colonial history”.
Williamson 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.”
Dinah Rose, the president of Magdalen College, tweeted back, “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 about 2013, they bought a print of a photo 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. Maybe they’ll vote to put it up again, maybe they won’t. Meanwhile, the photo will be safely stored.”
“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,” she added.
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