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The portrait of Queen Elizabeth II will no longer be hung in a key gathering location at Oxford University’s Magdalen College, after students voted to remove the image out of concern that it symbolizes colonialism.
Secretary of Education Gavin Williamson harshly criticized the movement, calling it “just absurd” and saying that the queen is “a symbol of the best of the UK”.
But graduate students who voted Monday to remove the portrait from the university’s central common room, the center of social life, said that, in the eyes of some students, “representations of the monarch and the British monarchy represent the recent colonial history, “according to the minutes. of the informed debate in the local media.
Magdalen College President Dinah Rose says decisions about what to display in the common room are up to the students, not the university. He also noted that it was the group of students themselves that originally bought the photograph, in 2013.
“Maybe they will vote to put it back, maybe not.” Rose said. “In the meantime, the photo will be stored safely.”
The vote to remove the photo came less than a week later The Guardian reported that at least until the late 1960s, Buckingham Palace prohibited “immigrants of color or foreigners” from holding office positions. The Magdalen College portrait reportedly dates from that time.
Rose, who graduated from Magdalen, became president of the university after a long career as an attorney, working in areas such as human rights and public law. She hinted that she does not agree with the position of the students, but also presented a vigorous defense on their behalf.
“Being a student is more than studying. It’s about exploring and debating ideas,” Rose said.
“Sometimes it’s about provoking the older generation. It seems like it’s not that hard to do these days.”
The removal of portraits generates criticism and debate
In fact, the decision has sparked accusations that a group of “awake” students are effectively trying to cancel the queen. British media they are also noticing that Magdalen’s central common room is currently chaired by an American, Matthew Katzman.
The strongest criticisms, and even threats, are coming through other means. In response, Rose said, “So if you are one of the people currently sending obscene and threatening messages to University staff, you might consider pausing and wondering if that’s really the best way to show your respect for the Queen. “.
The University of Oxford comprises dozens of faculties that function semi-autonomously. Magdalen is on the older side as it was founded in 1458.
The common rooms of British universities offer a variety of activities, from daily services to formal dinners. The term “middle” is generally applied to graduate students. The term “middle common room,” or MCR, is often used interchangeably to refer to the students themselves and their meeting place.
Magdalen College MCR says it pretends to be “a welcoming and vibrant community”.
In a recent unofficial All Oxford Classification Of the governance practices of the intermediate common rooms of universities based on their transparency and accountability, Magdalen’s MCR received the third highest rating.
The controversy has spread to Magdalen’s Facebook Page – an eventuality that has left some puzzled. The university has been promoting the torpid summer in progress: rowing races in which eight-row boats try to catch rival boats and hit them.
Some critics of the portrait decision used college career posts to express disapproval:
“I never thought I could be ashamed of a great university that has been a center of learning for many years,” wrote one man, saying that the tradition “has been tarnished by a group of narrow-minded individuals.”
But another woman commented: “This is a post about rowing. I will not be watching it because it is not something I have really understood and it is not for me. However, I am not outraged by this post. I wonder if there is a problem with? I? “