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09.06.2021 15:57 News >> Oxford Students Vote To Take Down Queen's Portrait

Oxford Students Vote To Take Down Queen's Portrait

Education secretary calls removal 'absurd,' but Oxford University says it will not intervene.

Students at an Oxford college voted on Tuesday to remove a portrait of the queen from their common room, claiming it represented a symbol of "recent colonial history," local media reported.
The portrait was hung in the middle common room (MCR) at Magdalen College.
The MCR committee, made up of graduate students at the prestigious university, voted to take down the portrait of young Queen Elizabeth, a colorized photo of the monarch taken in 1952, a year after she took the throne. It will now be put into storage.
Matthew Katzman, president of the MCR, 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."
Magdalen College itself had no role in its removal, and said it will not intervene in the matter. The MCR vote was taken in case students, either British or foreign, might take issue with the portrait.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson tweeted on Tuesday: "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 United Kingdom.
"During her long reign, she has worked tirelessly to promote British values of tolerance, inclusivity and respect around the world."
Magdalen College President Dinah Rose QC tweeted: "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.
"So if you are one of the people currently sending obscene and threatening messages to the College staff, you might consider pausing, and asking yourself whether that is really the best way to show your respect for the Queen.
"Or whether she'd be more likely to support the traditions of free debate and democratic decision-making that we are keeping alive at Magdalen." -



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